An AIADMK faction led by sidelined leader V.K. Sasikala told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that as per the party constitution, the office of General Secretary holds the “supreme authority” in the functioning of the AIADMK.
Sasikala’s counsel and Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal told a bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that the selection of the AIADMK General Secretary has to be done by the primary members.
The counsel said that without convening a meeting of the party’s primary members, the Election Commission cannot decide which faction represents the original AIADMK.
The counsel submitted that the rival faction led by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam have overturned the AIADMK constitution by repealing the post of General Secretary in September 2017, when Sasikala was the interim General Secretary, and hence could not claim to be the rightful successor.
The court listed the matter for April 20 for further hearing.
The faction led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam in March moved the Supreme Court against the order of a bench of a single judge of the Delhi High Court, which has allowed sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran’s plea to use a common symbol preferably “pressure cooker” and a suitable name for carrying out political activities as a unified entity.
The Supreme Court has stayed the order of the high court and directed its Acting Chief Justice to constitute a division bench to hear the matter again.
The single judge’s order had come on Dinakaran’s interim plea seeking directions that his group can continue to carry out its political activities as a unified entity during the pendency of his main application regarding the “two leaves” symbol.
The AIADMK split into two factions after the death of former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa.
One faction is led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam and the other by Sasikala and Dinakaran.
In December 2017, Dinakaran won the Radhakrishnan Nagar (R.K. Nagar) bypoll as an Independent candidate contesting with the “pressure cooker” symbol.
Dinakaran has also challenged the Election Commission order which awarded the two leaves symbol to the faction led by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and his deputy.