Madras High Court Upholds E Palaniswamy As AIADMK General Secretary 


On the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (AIADMK) party leadership issue, the Madras High Court approved AIADMK leader K Palaniswami's appeal on Friday, September 2, setting aside an order in favour of O Panneerselvam. A division bench of Justices M Duraiswamy and Sundar Mohan overturned a single judge's ruling that annulled the AIADMK's General Council (GC) meeting on July 11.

At the July general council meeting, Leader of the Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami was elected as the party's interim general secretary, the highest position, and Panneerselvam was expelled from the party.

The division bench overturned Justice G Jayachandran's August 17 order, which had ordered the status quo ante as of June 23. On that June day, Panneerselvam was the Coordinator and Palaniswami was the Joint Coordinator. Through this judgement today, the court highlighted that EPS cannot be "compelled to continue in the aforementioned post" after he stated that the postings had lapsed, and OPS cannot "take any choice independently." The court said that this would be decided in conjunction with the other current matters.

The court judgment only set aside the August 17 order and reinstated Palaniswami as the party's interim general secretary, while also allowing appeals contesting the nullification of the general council meeting.

The conflict inside the AIADMK began on June 15, when senior party leader and former Minister D Jayakumar demanded unitary leadership. While it was expected that the decision would be made during the June 23 general council meeting, OPS petitioned the Madras High Court to suspend the meeting. However, the court denied, and OPS petitioned the Supreme Court. While the gathering can take place as planned, the court stated that they "should not be authorized to pass any motions to amend the party's bye-laws."

Meanwhile, during the first General Council meeting on June 23, as many as 2,342 members demanded that single leadership be discussed. This meeting also saw a confrontation between the EPS and OPS factions, with the latter being abused and beaten by Edappadi Palaniswami supporters. The meeting of the general council was then rescheduled for July 11.

Following this, EPS went to the Supreme Court on June 28 to oppose the HC's restraining order that no changes to laws be made. After hearing the case, the Supreme Court stayed the Madras High Court's order, and the meeting was convened on July 11. At this meeting, EPS was appointed as the AIADMK's interim leader, and a special resolution was approved to oust OPS and his supporters from the party. In response, OPS stated that EPS had been fired from the party. Since then, both groups have claimed ownership of the party and have expelled each other's supporters.