AIADMK leadership row: SC asks Madras HC to decide on Panneerselvam’s plea against party meeting
The former Tamil Nadu chief minister was expelled from the party’s primary membership and his rival Palaniswami was made the interim general secretary.
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Madras High Court to take a decision within three weeks on a plea filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam challenging the July 11 general council meeting of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Live Law reported.
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli also directed Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami, who was elected as the interim general secretary of the AIADMK in its general council meeting held on July 11, to maintain a status quo for now by not passing new resolutions.
At the meeting, AIADMK had expelled Panneerselvam from the party’s primary membership for “anti-party activities”.
Paneerselvam was formerly the coordinator of the AIADMK and Palaniswami was the joint coordinator. The two positions were created during the general council meeting on September 12, 2017, after the party gave the honorary title of “eternal general secretary” to late former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The general council members, however, in the meeting abolished the party’s dual leadership model and appointed Palaniswami as the “single supreme leader”.
Palaniswami’s elevation on July 11 came soon after the Madras High Court dismissed a plea filed by Panneerselvam seeking to stall the meeting.
Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy had said the meeting can be conducted in accordance with the law.
Panneerselvam then moved the Supreme Court, challenging the Madras High Court’s order refusing to stall the general council meeting.
On Friday, Senior Advocate Gurukrishna Kumar, appearing for Panneerselvam, told the bench that extreme decisions were taken in the meeting, including his client’s expulsion from the party, Live Law reported.
“They’ve removed me from the post of the treasurer and they’ve abolished the post,” Panneerselvam’s plea stated.
The meeting was in contravention of the bye-laws, Kumar added.
Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, also representing Panneerselvam, urged the Supreme Court bench to restore the status quo that existed on July 11 before the general council meeting was held by the AIADMK, Live Law reported.
After hearing the submissions, Ramana said that the bench was inclined to remand the matter back to the Madras High Court.
“Let the single judge decide,” the chief justice added. “Certain things that have to happen, we can’t restore that but we can ask them to not change the status quo. We will set time limits.”
The bench then ordered the High Court to depose the matter within three weeks.
“We deem it necessary that instead of keeping the matter here, we will send it back to the HC for fresh consideration without being influenced by the orders passed by us,” the bench added. “We have not expressed any opinion on merits.”