In the ongoing legal war in the ADMK between Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) and O Panneerselvam (OPS), it's EPS turn to celebrate a huge victory after the Madras High Court has set aside the order that repealed the appointment of EPS as the party's interim General Secretary. With the development, the High Court has awarded a setback for OPS, who is now mulling to appeal against the directive.
According to reports, a division bench of Madras High Court on Friday allowed the appeal of EPS and set aside the order passed by a single judge in favour of OPS on August 17. The status quo ante order was turned down by the bench comprising of Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice Sunder Mohan. The bench has pronounced the directive that reinstated the position of EPS as the interim General Secretary of ADMK.
The latest order in favour of EPS has also bestowed the tag of legality on the ADMK's General Council meeting that was held on July 11 in which EPS was appointed interim chief of the party. As the court has spelt that the meeting is valid, it has added pressure on OPS as he has been claiming that the meeting is illegal as it was convened without his consent.
Recently, Justice G Jayachandran passed an order declaring the General Council meeting invalid. The EPS faction has appealed against the order and earlier, the High Court division bench reserved the order. It was announced that the verdict will be dictated on Friday - September 2 due to which the matter has gained more traction across the state.
In view of the verdict and reminiscing the riots that happened in the ADMK office previously, hundreds of police were deployed at the ADMK office ahead of the judgment on Friday to counter any untoward incidents. As expected, the order was pronounced in the morning hours of Friday and the two-judge division bench set aside the earlier order passed by Justice Jayachandran in favour of OPS.
Addressing the reporters at the High Court premises, the counsel of EPS, Inbadurai said, "Earlier order by a single judge has been set aside by the division bench. They upheld the validity of the AIADMK General Council Meet." During the hearing, a team of senior lawyers representing EPS submitted that the General Council is the supreme body of the party and the meeting held on July 11 was based on the requisition made by 2,190 General Council members on June 23.
The team argued that the findings of the single judge are arbitrary, illegal, and against the law. As EPS has got a big victory in the fight against OPS to lead the party, the cadres supporting EPS have gathered at his residence in Chennai and begun celebrating the victory. They burst crackers and distributed sweets and they were joined by some of the senior leaders including former ministers D Jayakumar and SP Velumani.
The cadres pelted flowers on the banner of EPS, the party founder MGR and late supremo J Jayalalithaa. Former Minister D Jayakumar said that it was a historic judgment. Speaking to the reporters, Jayakumar said, "It was a historic judgment. All the 1.5 crore ADMK cadres are happy about the verdict and they are celebrating across the state."
He cited that the court's order says that the general council meeting was valid, which makes EPS to be the party's general secretary. He further contended that the removal of OPS from the party will also be valid. While responding to a question about the political future of OPS, Jayakumar replied, 'It will be zero'. He further claimed, "As the general council meeting was held as per the law, the court's verdict was in our favour."
On the other hand, OPS has decided to appeal against the High Court order in the Supreme Court. When the high court has come, he was in his hometown Theni and following the order, he immediately started to Chennai to discuss with his legal team fighting against the order at the apex court. Senior ADMK leader and OPS supporter Kolathur Krishnamoorthy said, "Our leaders were discussing it and after consulting with the legal experts, we will move to the Supreme Court."