Delhi HC seeks EC’s stand on plea against approval to amended AIADMK constitution

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the stand of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the AIADMK on a petition against the approval of amendments to the “original constitution” of the party.

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav issued notice on a petition by B Ramkumar Adityan and K C Suren Palanisamy, who claimed to be primary members of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), against the ECI order which also endorsed the elevation of Edappadi K Palaniswami as party’s general secretary.

The petition said the order was “illegal” and passed without considering the petitioners’ representation.

The lawyer appearing for the petitioners told the court the amendment to the party laws was approved in a “very mechanical” manner.

“Issue notice returnable in six weeks,” the judge said and listed the case for hearing on October 10.

On April 12, the high court had asked the ECI to decide within 10 days representation by AIADMK to update in its record the party’s amended bye-laws.

The order was passed on a petition filed by AIADMK and its interim general secretary Thiru K Palaniswamy, which claimed that the records of the party were not being updated owing to certain internal disputes pending in AIADMK.

On April 20, the ECI had endorsed the elevation of Palaniswami to the top position of the AIADMK as its general secretary, thereby also acknowledging the expulsion of O Panneerselvam and his supporters from the party last year.

The EC had, however, made it clear that its decision to take on record the changes to the AIADMK’s organisational structure was subject to any further court order on the leadership dispute.

In the petition filed through lawyer Ashish Kumar Upadhyay, the petitioners said the ECI order was “illegal, ultra vires to the provisions of the Section 29A of the Representation of People Act 1951, the provisions of Original Constitution of the Respondent No.2 Party (AIADMK) and Natural Justice”.

“When there are civil suits pending before various forums challenging resolutions passed to amend the Party Constitution by the General Council on 12.09.2017, the Executive Council on 01.12.2021 and the General Council 11.07.2022 and Election of Shri. Edapadi.K.Palanisamy as the General Secretary of the Respondent No.2 Party, the Respondent has no choice to accept the Resolutions and amended Constitution of the Party on file,” the petition said.

“If the respondent has taken a decision to take the amended Constitution on file pending disposal of the civil suits, it will cause irreparable damage to functioning of the party and rights of the Primary Members,” the plea added.

AIADMK’s petition had earlier asserted that not updating the ECI records is wholly contrary to the various settled legal principles and 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.

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“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 General Assembly Elections to Lok Sabha,” the AIADMK petition had 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.

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