AIADMK leadership row: Madras HC to deliver judgment 15 minutes before General Council meet

Rajagopal said that Panneerselvam was shooting from his sympathisers' shoulders by filing multiple litigations as he has no foothold in the party.
Madras High Court (File photo)
Madras High Court (File photo)

CHENNAI: The uncertainty over who would come up trumps in the AIADMK leadership fight between Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS) continued after the Madras High Court on Friday reserved its order on a civil suit by OPS seeking a stay on the General Council (GC) meeting slated for 9.15 am on July 11 (Monday).

After over three hours of intense arguments on Friday, Justice Krishnan Ramasamy said the order would be pronounced at 9am on Monday, declining to heed OPS' request to deliver the verdict either on Saturday or Sunday.

One of the main contentions of EPS, represented by senior counsel Vijay Narayan, was that the posts of coordinator and joint coordinator have become 'vacant' since the amendments passed at an executive committee (EC) meeting in December last to elect OPS and EPS for the posts could not be ratified by the party's June 23 GC meeting. So, the headquarters office-bearers became entitled to convene the GC.

Vijay Narayan blamed Panneerselvam of 'stifling' the growth of the party and its internal democratic process, and charged him of dragging the legal tangle only because he sees no future for himself in the party.

OPS was shooting from his sympathisers’ shoulders by filing litigations, says counsel

Referring to the charge that 15 days of time was not given for holding the GC meeting, the counsel said such incidents occurred in the past too, particularly in 1987 and 2017 when late J Jayalalithaa and VK Sasikala were elected to the posts of general secretary and interim general secretary. SR Rajagopal, another senior counsel for Palaniswami, said that Panneerselvam was shooting from his sympathisers' shoulders by filing multiple litigations as he has no foothold in the party.

Countering their arguments, senior counsel Guru Krishnakumar, appearing for Panneerselvam, said that the two top officebearers, whose position the other side claims to have lapsed, have conducted the party organisational polls and notified the same to the Election Commission of India. "How can they (Palaniswami camp) say the posts are vacant now?" he asked.

There is distinction between 'vacancy' and 'inability'. What we are seeing now is not vacancy of posts but inability to function as the notice for the GC meeting says, he submitted.

Pointing out that there is no necessity for the GC to ratify their election to the top posts, and said it was just "a formality of ministerial act". The counsel said that the situation in 1987 and 2017 were different since the key post was then vacant.

AK Sriram, another senior counsel appearing for petitioner P Vairamuthu, asked Palaniswami's counsels to show the party bylaw that empowers the headquarters office-bearers to convene the meeting. Meanwhile, former minister D Jayakumar exuded confidence of getting a "good verdict".

When a reporter questioned him ab out the uncertainty over the July 11 meeting, Jayakumar said the verdict would be pronounced at 9am and the GC meeting would start at 9:15 am. "We will get a good verdict. We have sent invitations to all GC members. They will be attending the GC meeting," he said.

Jayakumar said a representation has been submitted to the city police commissioner seeking police protection for AIADMK headquarters since they have reliable information that antisocial elements might enter the party office.

Cadre clash in Ramnad

Four AIADMK cadre were injured after a clash broke out between supporters of OPS and EPS at a party meeting in Ramanathapuram on Friday

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