The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Monday approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to update in its record the party’s amended bylaws, contending the delay in doing so was coming in the way of the party contesting the Karnataka assembly polls.
Justice Prathiba M Singh recused herself from hearing the plea without citing any reason, and said it should be listed before another bench on April 12, subject to orders of the chief justice.
The petition filed by the AIADMK and its interim general secretary K Palaniswamy said the ECI’s stand is that the records of the party are not being updated owing to certain internal disputes.
The same is wholly contrary to the various settled legal principles and the earlier stand of the ECI taken in relation to the party, the main opposition party in Tamil Nadu said.
The Election Commission was represented by advocate Siddhant Kumar.
“The inaction of ECI has grossly violated the Article 19(1)(c) of the petitioners as petitioner no. 1 (AIADMK) is an association of persons and owing to the inaction of ECI, the petitioner no. 1 is not able to effectively carry out its functions which is the dire need of the hour especially owing to the fast approaching elections,” the petition said.
The plea, filed through advocates Balaji Srinivasan, K Gowtham Kumar and Shiva Krishnamurti, sought direction the ECI to consider the representations made by the petitioners and upload the latest amended bylaws of July 11, 2022.
It said the poll panel recently announced the schedule for the May 10 assembly election in Karnataka and the last date of filing nomination is April 20.
It said the party puts up its candidates regularly in some of the constituencies in Karnataka and, in the past, its candidate won thrice from Kolar constituency.
The petition said without the ECI updating its records and uploading the amended bylaws, the AIADMK will not be able to put up a valid contestant in these constituencies and the party would go unrepresented, which will cause it irreparable injury.
“Such a conduct on the part of ECI will seriously impact the democratic fabric as a recognised political party having significant presence in the State of Karnataka, will be unable to participate in the elections to the legislative assembly,” the plea said.
It said the inaction will only cause severe disruption of the activities of the party which will in turn have a serious bearing on the democratic principles of the nation.
“The inaction of ECI to upload its records will lead to a situation where the AIADMK party will not be able to put up a candidate or carry out any other administrative function and the same would result in stagnancy of effective functioning of the AIADMK party,” the plea said.
“The inaction of ECI is causing grave prejudice and hardship not only to the AIADMK party but also to the primary members of AIADMK party and entire citizenry of State of Tamil Nadu for the reason that absolute strangers to the AIADMK party are representing themselves as coordinators and other office bearers of party.
“They are also appointing various unknown persons to the posts of AIADMK party and such impersonation cannot be allowed in a vibrant democracy,” it said.
After a protracted fight Between Palaniswamy and rival O Panneerselvam for controlling the party, The Supreme Court had in February this year upheld a Madras High Court verdict allowing the former to continue as the AIADMK general secretary.
The order came on a batch of petitions concerning amendments to the party bylaws made at a general council meeting of the party on July 11, 2022.