EPS to continue as AIADMK’s interim gen secy

The bench held that if the single judge’s order to convene the EC meeting and the GC meeting only with the joint consent of OPS and EPS is implemented, it will only further the “functional deadlock” already in existence in the AIADMK.
Edappadi K Palaniswami
Edappadi K Palaniswami

CHENNAI: The legal battle to get hold of authority in the AIADMK has once again fallen in place for former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who now can continue as the interim general secretary of the party as a division bench of Madras High Court on Friday set aside the August 17 order of the single judge to maintain status quo ante as on June 23 ruled in favour of O Panneerselvam.

Edappadi K Palaniswami
Big win for EPS: HC set aside order passed in favour of OPS

Heading the second division along with Justice K Sunder Mohan, Justice M Duraiswamy allowed the original side appeals filed by Palaniswami. The bench held that if the single judge’s order to convene the EC meeting and the GC meeting only with the joint consent of OPS and EPS is implemented, it will only further the “functional deadlock” already in existence in the AIADMK.

“By giving a direction that there shall be no EC meeting or GC meeting without the joint consent of the coordinator and the joint coordinator, a situation has arisen where the party, as a whole, will undergo irreparable hardship, since there is no possibility of the appellant (EPS) and the fisrt respondent (OPS) acting jointly to convene a meeting,” the bench ruled.

Edappadi K Palaniswami
Deadlock in party matters: HC in its 127-page order favouring EPS

Justice Duraiswamy who penned the order further held that when the presidium chairman announced a fresh GC meeting based on the requisition from 2,190 GC members on the June 23 meeting, OPS should have challenged the June 23 meeting and not the July 11 GC meeting. “When the 1st respondent did not challenge the resolutions passed in the GC meeting held on June 23, an order of status quo ante as on June 23 cannot be granted,” the judges ordered. Meanwhile, Palaniswami on Friday described the Madras HC’s ruling as ‘historic.’

No notice required for spl GC meeting, observes HC

“When the appellant had given up his right of joint coordinator in his June 28 communication to the EC, he could not be compelled to continue the post. The common sense approach was followed on September 12, 2017, wherein the GC meeting was announced at the instance of the office-bearers of party headquarters. In these circumstances, the GC meeting called for by the presidium chairman on June 23 to convene the Special General Council Meeting on July 11 is proper,” the judges ruled in favour of Edappadi K Palaniswami.

After hearing the long-winded arguments made by both sides, the bench stated that it has to test three major findings of the single judge. Firstly, it was about the locus standi of O Panneerselvam to maintain the suit. Secondly, whether the GC meeting in July was convened by an authorised person? Thirdly, in whose favour does the prima facie case and balance of convenience lie?

The bench ruled the July 11 GC meeting a valid one. According to the bench, the single judge’s finding that 15-days of clear notice is necessary for conducting a special GC meeting requested by 1/5th of the GC members is against the bye-laws.

“As per the second part of Rule 19 (vii) AIADMK’s bye-laws, no notice is required for a special GC meeting,” the bench noted.

As the single judge ruled in favour of OPS by pointing out the case of J Jayalalithaa Vs Thirunavukkarasar in 1997 that the general secretary should convene the meeting as per bye-laws, the bench noted that the said case is not applied to current case. “In 1997, there was a parallel GC meet conducted by Thirunavukkarasar and the case will not apply here as no parallel meet was conducted,” the judges noted.

The court held that when VK Sasikala, the then interim general secretary could not act in 2017 due to her incarceration, the office bearers convened a meeting on September 12, 2017, based on the requisition received. “GC is the supreme body in the party. Any decision, including the decision of the coordinators should get the ratification of the GC members,” the bench ruled.

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