E Palaniswami's appointment as AIADMK General Secretary not valid: Madras High Court
The Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered status quo as of June 23 over the conduct of the AIADMK's July 11 General Council, in effect rendering the meet, which among others picked Edappady K Palaniswami (EPS) as its chief, invalid.
Though the HC ruling was being seen as a setback to EPS, his supporters insisted it was not so and informed that the next course of action would be decided after going through the detailed order.
O Panneerselvam, the rival AIADMK leader who was 'expelled' from the party at the July 11 GC meet, said the ruling showed nobody can "usurp," a political party, let alone a house, and that the judiciary and God will not allow that. He said a good leader was one who would take along all, despite insults hurled by some.
On Wednesday, Justice G Jayachandran ordered status quo as on June 23, in effect rendering as invalid the July 11 GC meeting.
The general council, AIADMK's highest decision-making body, 'expelled' Panneerselvam and some of his associates from the party amid his leadership tussle with Palaniswami, who was picked as the interim general secretary of the party by the GC members.
The judge held that the co-ordinator and the joint co-ordinator alone shall convene the GC meeting. He also suggested nomination of an observer to conduct the meeting.
The court was passing orders on the civil suits from Panneerselvam and GC member Vairamuthu.
Later, the counsel appearing for Panneerselvam said the court has said the Coordinator and Joint Coordinator posts, held by OPS and Palaniswami, respectively earlier, "had not lapsed".
The June 23 GC meet, convened jointly by the two leaders earlier, had announced that the one and only demand of the GC members is to bring in a system of a single leadership for the party, favouring Palaniswami, also known as EPS.
Responding to the court verdict, Panneerselvam said he trusted dharma, the judiciary, party workers and the people, "who believe truth and dharma are by my side." It was a 'historic' ruling.
"This verdict proves justice, dharma, party workers, people and especially the Almigty will not accept usurping a political party by force, let alone someone's house," he said in a statement.
Those who show scant regard for party laws formulated by its founder, the late chief minister M G Ramachandran, will be defeated, he said, adding, henceforth the AIADMK, by virtue of its unity, will grow to be an iron fortress that cannot be breached.
"I will now take along the 1.5 crore party workers who believe Amma (the late CM J Jayalalithaa) is the permanent general secretary," he added.
Later, speaking to reporters, OPS dedicated the HC ruling to the "1.5 crore party workers."
Invoking MGR and Jayalalithaa, he said the AIADMK was a cadre-based movement and "splitting it or any authoritarianism concerning an individual or a family is not possible."
"Like Anna (Dravidian stalwart CN Annadurai) said, those in the leadership should have the maturity to tolerate criticism. Whoever created insults, tolerate them and take them along is the facet of those in leadership," OPS, who paid tributes at the memorial of Jayalalithaa here, said.
Henceforth "there is no us and them," he said, in an apparent reference to the rival camp and stated that according to the court ruling, party functionaries will continue in the same posts they were in prior to June 23.
"The responsibility given to me by workers is Coordinator. So how MGR and Amma made AIADMK a strong unit, we will do the same...there is no them and us now. It is one movement now, a party workers' movement," he pointed out.
To a question on convening the general council, he said a 'good decision' will be taken after discussions.
Meanwhile, the Palaniswami camp insisted it was not a setback for the senior leader.
Senior leader and former minister K P Munsusamy said the party high command will respond in detail after perusing the order copy of today's ruling.
The general councils held on June 23 and July 11 were conducted properly like the days of the late Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa.
All the general council members present in both meets "unanimously adopted the resolutions" at the respective sessions, he told reporters.
"No question arises," was his response when asked if the order was a setback for Palaniswami.
"If there are 2600-odd GC members, 2562 of them have accepted Palaniswami as the chief. The GC members are elected by the party's grassroots level workers and functionaries and enjoy all powers. Such persons had unanimously accepted the (interim) general secretary," he said.
The court's order for status quo will be discussed on how to be taken forward, he added.
Panneerselvam's supporters celebrated the court ruling by bursting crackers.