Big relief for EPS and OPS: How Madras HC poured a legal gain to the ADMK leaders?

In what has become a huge relief for Edappadi Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam in retaining their top posts in the party, the Madras High Court has on Tuesday -December 14 dismissed the petition, that was filed against the duo and to challenge the organizational polls of the ADMK that elected Palaniswami and Panneerselvam as joint coordinator and coordinator respectively for another term. The court has poured a legal gain to both the ADMK leaders by dismissing the petition against them on the grounds of being not maintainable. 

The petition was moved by J Jayachandran of Arsanapatti in Hosur and he sought the directive from the high court to the Election Commission of India not to affix its seal of approval for the election of Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami to the posts they were declared elected unopposed on December 6, while the election was scheduled to be held on December 7. Jayachandran claimed that he was attacked when he went to the party headquarters at Royapettah, Chennai on December 4 to acquire the nomination papers to contest in the elections. 

In his petition, Jayachandran had contended that the mandatory notice of a clear 21 days from the date of announcement of the election and the date of polling was not issued. He alleged that the elections officers - senior ADMK leaders Ponnaiyan and Pollachi Jayaraman- were acting mischievous and the petitioner has claimed that the voters' list, consisting of nearly 1.50 crore cadres, was not made public. He alleged that the entire proceedings were conducted in such a way to ensure that only the two top leaders filed their nominations for the respective posts.

He challenged the party's elections and sought the court to order the Election Commission of India not to certify the elections that elected both the leaders. Jayachandran's petition came to the hearing to the High Court bench comprising of acting Chief Justice MN Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu. After the hearing on Tuesday, the bench had rejected Jayachandran's plea after holding it was not maintainable and said that the court cannot direct the Election Commission to interfere in the organizational elections of a political party. 

It must be noted that Pannerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami were elected to the top posts of the party on December 6, days after amending the party's by-laws and amid the ongoing political tussle and leadership crisis in the party.  The two leaders were elected unanimously and unopposed for the first time in the organizational election. The party's executive committee had made changes to the party's by-laws ahead of the election in a way that both the leaders retain their reign and control in the party, which currently sits in opposition in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.