Hours after a single-judge bench refused to stop the AIADMK from making changes to the party’s bylaws in a general council meeting, a division bench heard an appeal in the case in the early hours of Thursday and said the party couldn’t make any decisions about unitary leadership at the key meeting to be held later today.
The division bench decided to hear the appeal past midnight; the hearing commenced around 2 am Thursday and the order was pronounced around 5 am.
The division bench order came as a big relief for AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam, as his rival camp, led by joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, was getting ready to make a big change in the way the party leadership works at the general council (GC) meeting today.
It was Justice Krishnan Ramasamy who turned down the requests on Wednesday and did not stop the GC meeting or the proposed changes. The one-judge bench said it was up to the collective general council to decide how it should work, and that it was not the court’s job to tell the council which resolutions could and should be passed.
Justice Ramaswamy wrote, “It is well settled that in matters related to internal issues of an association/political party, the courts normally do not interfere, leaving it open to the association/party and its members to pass resolutions and frame a particular bye-law, rule or regulation for better administration of the party. Any decision is well within the collective wisdom of the general council and this court cannot insist the members act in a particular manner.”
After the single bench order, Shanmugam, a member of the AIADMK’s general council, filed an appeal late at night. Justices M Duraiswamy and Sunder Mohan of the Madras High Court agreed to hear the case past midnight. The hearing started at 2 am at the residence of Justice Duraiswamy.
Around 5 am, the division bench order was released, stopping the party’s general council from making any decision about unitary leadership, a setback to Palaniswami, who controls 90 per cent of the party, wanted the party to get rid of the dual leadership and have just one leader.