Edappadi Palaniswami appeals against Madras High Court order in favour of O. Panneerselvam

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Says, in no circumstances they can jointly act as Coordinator & Joint Coordinator of AIADMK

Says, in no circumstances they can jointly act as Coordinator & Joint Coordinator of AIADMK

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday chose to prefer an appeal against an order passed by a single judge of the Madras High Court on Wednesday declaring as void a July 11 general council meet in which he got elected as interim general secretary.

Appearing before the second Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and Sunder Mohan, Senior Counsel Vijay Narayan made a request for urgent hearing of the appeal on Monday. The senior judge in the Bench agreed to take it up on Monday if the Registry numbers the appeal by Thursday afternoon.

In his grounds of appeal, Mr. Palaniswami said, the single judge had completely ignored the fact that the posts of the Coordinator and Joint Coordinator had lapsed and therefore in no circumstances could they jointly act to convene any executive council or general council meeting as directed by the judge.

He also said, the single judge had erred and failed to look into pertinent facts while ordering status quo ante as on June 23 and ruling against the July 11 general council meet in which the other leader O. Panneerselvam was expelled from primary membership of the party.

“The learned single judge’s order is illegal, and unsustainable in the eye of law. The impugned order has been passed on assumptions and irrational reasoning which makes it completely unworkable and arbitrary,” Mr. Palaniswami said and urged the court to stay the operation of the order until it gets set aside.

According to the appellant, the single judge had passed the order without any cogent reasoning and therefore, it directly interferes with the internal affairs of a political party and curtails the functioning of the party by ignoring the wishes of the majority of the members.

“The impugned (under challenge) Order literally propagates the wish of a single person for dual leadership when the entire party has moved towards single leadership. The observations in the said paragraph and the other passages on internal functioning of the party is not within the domain of judicial scrutiny,” his affidavit read.

Mr. Palaniswami also stated that the single judge had traversed beyond the relief sought by Panneerselvam, who was aggrieved against only the July 11 general council meet, by setting at naught even the proceedings of the general council meet that took place on June 23 too.

He pointed out that the June 23 proceedings were the subject matter of another case filed by general council member M. Shanmugam and said, that case was now pending before the Supreme Court. The single judge ought not to have interfered with the decisions taken at the June 23 meet, he contended.

Further, stating that the single judge was called upon to decide only an interlocutory petition filed by Mr. Panneerselvam while his civil suit remained pending, Mr. Palaniswami said, the single judge had conducted a “mini trial” at the interlocutory stage itself and ended up giving conclusive findings on the issue of party leadership.

“The order of status quo ante cannot be passed in such a manner and the impugned order is against all known principles of law. The 1st respondent (Mr. Panneerselvam) has not even pleaded in the plaint for any relief regarding the meeting on June 23, 2022 since it is the subject matter of an earlier suit,” the appellant added.

Mr. Palaniswami asserted that the party bylaws do not require issuance of written notice for convening a general council meet and that the oral announcement made at the June 23 general council meet regarding the decision to conduct the next meeting on the July 11 was sufficient notice.

The appellant also said that the relief of an injunction against the July 11 general council meet had become infructuous by the time the matter was taken to the Supreme Court and got remanded to the single judge. After the remand, Mr. Panneerselvam did not take out any application to amend his prayer.

Mr. Palaniswami also took strong exception to the single judge having concluded that there was interpolation of the requisition made by 2,190 out of 2,655 members on June 23 for conducting the next general council meet. Stating that it was enough for 533 members to requisition a meet, he said, the judge had failed to see that not even a single signatory had raised any dispute.

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