Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa’s aide VK Sasikala may approach the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s 2017 decision to allow All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to use the party name and the “two leaves” symbol, Hindustan Times reported on Monday, citing her lawyer.
Tamil Nadu is likely to vote in April-May.
“We will file a curative petition soon,” the expelled AIADMK leader’s lawyer, Raja Senthoor Pandian, said. “We haven’t filed a case so far due to the pandemic and we had expected her to be released by August on remission. So we thought of filing it once she is out. We have to discuss.”
On November 23, 2017, the poll panel had allotted the E Palaniswami-led group the “two leaves” symbol. The Election Commission had prohibited the use of the party symbol when two factions – one led by Palaniswami and the other by current Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam – emerged following Jayalalithaa’s death in December 2016.
Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinkaran had then challenged the decision in the Delhi High Court to allow the main AIADMK party to use the symbol. But the High Court upheld the Election Commission’s order in 2019. Following this, the Supreme Court also rejected two pleas, one in March 2019 and other in July 2020.
A curative plea is the final legal recourse in this case, and is commonly filed if the petitioners believe that an error had occurred while deciding a case.
Meanwhile, the AIADMK made it known that Sasikala would not be inducted into the party. “We threw them [Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dhinakaran] out of the party at the general council meeting held in September 2017,” AIADMK leader CVe Shanmugam told The Hindu. “The two had approached the courts to establish their claim over the party but only suffered setbacks.” He also said that Sasikala had no locus standi in the AIADMK.
Sasikala was convicted in a disproportionate assets case on February 14, 2017. She was released after paying a Rs 10-crore fine, failing which her imprisonment would have been extended by 13 more months. She had tested positive for the coronavirus on January 20, just days ahead of her scheduled release.
In an apparent political signal, Sasikala left the hospital in a vehicle carrying an AIADMK flag. Earlier this month, Palaniswami had ruled out any possibility of her rejoining the party. The Bharatiya Janata Party has been reportedly pushing its partner to let Sasikala back into the party fold to avoid a split of votes that could benefit rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.