AIADMK Conflict: Who won the owndom of the party? Here's the verdict from the Supreme Court

(This article is authored by Alar)

Following the July 11 meeting where EPS was elected as the party's interim general secretary, OPS and his backers were expelled from the party. Further to this, OPS filed an appeal with the Supreme Court demanding the decision of the Madras High Court's division bench. Thursday, February 23rd, the Supreme Court upheld the Madras High Court division bench's order allowing Edappadi Palanisamy(EPS) to continue as the party's interim general secretary.

On January 12, a Division Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheswari and Hrishikesh Roy secured their judgement. Senior Advocates Guru Krishna Kumar and Mr. Ranjit Kumar, representing OPS, argued for the reinstatement of the single bench's order, arguing that it was issued in accordance with the party's bylaws, which require the joint consent of OPS and EPS for convening general council meetings.

Senior Advocates C.S. Vaidyanathan, Aryama Sundaram, Mukul Rohatgi, and Atul Yeshvant Chitale opined for EPS that the High Court cannot interfere with the internal decisions made by a political party's general council. Justice Maheshwari, while reading out the operational portions, clarified that the Court's observations pertain to the interim orders issued by the High Court and that they shall have no bearing on the pending suit before the High Court concerning the disputes between OPS and EPS.

A Bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjay Kumar said in its order, "We have upheld the order of the Division Bench of the High Court dated 2.9.22, and made our earlier interim order permanent. We have not dealt with the matter of resolutions before the party that were being heard by the single-judge. We leave it open for the said resolutions to be dealt with in accordance in law. We do not seek it necessary to allow the impleadment applications."

The Court has left all the other issues open to be decided in the suit. The Court further clarified that it has not dealt with the contentions regarding the validity of the general council meeting of July 11, 2022, which is to be decided in the suit. Earlier, an interlocutory petition was filed by Edappadi Palaniswami to assign the double leaf symbol to their side in the Erode East constituency by-election and  the Election Commission ordered the temporary allocation of the double leaf symbol to Edappadi Palaniswami's team. The Erode East bypoll will be held on February 27 and the results will be declared on March 2.