CHENNAI: The Madras High Court restrained the persons in charge of the Chennai Press Club from continuing with the process of election till April 4.
Justice KK Sasidharan granted the injunction while passing interim orders on an application arising out of a civil suit from A Selvaraj, a member of the Club, who filed the suit in a collective capacity. It sought to appoint a retired judge of the High Court to take over the affairs of the Club.
The judge noted that K Geethapriyan, V Anbazhagan, Shivakumar, Bharathi Tamilan Perumal, P Sundaravadivel, KR Naresh Kumar, R Rajinikanth, K Asudhulla, K Kosalram and KM Thomas and K Kubendran and office manager Jacob, on receipt of notice from the court, issued the election notice hastily to overreach the judicial process.
The applicant, having been convinced that the attempt was to conduct the election by preparing a bogus voter's list and fraudulently, has come up with the civil suit and application to grant interim injunction, the judge said.
According to the applicant's senior counsel, these persons had no right to conduct the election. It was only to overreach the court process, they announced the election after 16 years.
The affidavit filed and the documents on record prima facie showed that all was not well with the Chennai Press Club, the judge said. The Press Club has been highlighting various political and social issues and acted as a watchdog to ensure free and fair election to Parliament, Legislative Assemblies and the local bodies. Such being the relevance of the press, it was surprising that the club itself had not conducted elections to elect its managing committee for 16 years, the judge observed.
The applicant had pointed out certain violations which would go to the root of the matter. Under clause 30 of the by-laws of the Club, only the managing committee could appoint the Election Officer. The managing committee would imply only a committee validly elected by the members of the club.
Since these persons were not elected by the members, prima facie, they were not entitled either to conduct an election or appoint an election officer. The applicant has also alleged serious financial irregularities and acts of mismanagement against these persons.
The draft voter's list had not been published for the purpose of submission of objections and to publish the final valid list of voters. Such being the factual position, the applicant was prima facie correct in his contention that it would not be in the interest of the Press Club to permit these persons to go ahead with the election process, the judge further said, granted the stay and posted the matter for April 4.