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Madras High Court Dismisses As Non-Maintainable Plea Challenging AIADMK Intra-Party Polls

Sebin James
14 Dec 2021 7:31 AM GMT
Madras High Court Dismisses As Non-Maintainable Plea Challenging AIADMK Intra-Party Polls
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The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging the legality of the intra-party elections to the post of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator of AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), held on December 6.The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed that the plea is not maintainable and that the petitioner has...

The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging the legality of the intra-party elections to the post of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator of AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), held on December 6.

The division bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed that the plea is not maintainable and that the petitioner has not been able to refer any provision under the Representation of the People Act, 1951 empowering the Election Commission of India (ECI) to look into the impugned intra-party elections. Article 324 of the Constitution only bestows upon Election Commission the superintendence, direction and control of elections and it certainly does not include the internal elections of a political party, the bench noted.

"The objection raised by the petitioner that the elections to the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator of the second respondent political party were held without adopting democratic procedure cannot be countenanced, as the Election Commission is not empowered to go into the internal elections of a political party. All that Section 29A(9) of the Act of 1951 contemplates is that after an association or body has been registered as a political party, any change in its name, head office, office-bearers, address, etc., shall be communicated to the Election Commission of India without any delay. Such power does not confer any corresponding duty on the Election Commission of India to enter into the internal elections of a political party. In view of the above, we find the impleadment of the Election Commission of India is for the sake of it", the court observed.

The writ petition was filed by J. Jayachandran, who claimed to be a party member for more than 30 years.

He argued that the projection of AIADMK functionaries O. Paneerselvam and Edappadi K Palanisamy as leaders who got elected to the party office unopposed, was bogus. It was alleged that they prevented others from filing their nominations.

When the matter was first taken up, the Court had inquired into the relevance of impleading the Election Commissioner of India as a party. It was of the view that such an enquiry is necessary to ascertain the maintainability of the writ petition.

The petitioner had then responded that AIADMK is a prominent political party, discharges important public functions, and therefore, remedy under Article 226 can be sought. "The role of the Election Commissioner is to uphold the larger canvass of democracy, be it elections to a local body or an organizational poll," it was submitted.

The Court had reserved its order on maintainability last week.

Today, in the court's order, the court was of the further opinion that it was not right for the petitioner to rely on All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam v.The State Election Commissioner (2007) whereby the court took cognizance on allegations of boot capturing and vote-rigging in the local body elections with reference to Article 243 :

"In the instant case, the election is not to local bodies, Assembly or Parliament, but internal elections of the political parties It is not governed by any of the provisions of the Constitution or even the provisions of the Act of 1951 so as to direct the Election Commission not to approve or recognise the internal elections of the party. Moreover, we have already held that the Election Commission of India has no authority to look into the internal elections of a political party.", the court reasoned.

The Bench also disagreed with the petitioner's reliance on Board Of Control For Cricket v. Cricket Association Of Bihar & Ors. The petitioner counsel argued that whereas BCCI was not "State" within the meaning of Article 12, however it was amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, as it was discharging important public functions. Similarly, AIADMK would also be amenable to the court's jurisdiction for the important public functions it discharges, argued the counsel then. However, today, the court clarified that AIADMK cannot be considered as an entity that discharges public functions or duties within the ambit of Article 12, according to the ratio propounded in the case of BCCI.

Case Title: J.Jayachandran v. The Election Commissioner Of India & Others.

Case No: WP/26171/2021 (Election)

Click Here To Read/ Download Order



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