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Madras High Court Quashes AIADMK Headquarters Sealing Order, Directs Handing Over Of Keys To Edappadi Palaniswamy

Upasana Sajeev
20 July 2022 10:35 AM GMT
Madras High Court Quashes AIADMK Headquarters Sealing Order, Directs Handing Over Of Keys To Edappadi Palaniswamy
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday quashed the order of Revenue Divisional Officer sealing the headquarters of AIADMK party. Justice Sathish Kumar made the order on pleas filed by the new incumbent General Secretary Edappadi Palaniswamy and former Chief Minister O Paneerselvam challenging the lock and seal of the party headquarters. The AIADMK party headquarters was locked and sealed by the...

The Madras High Court on Wednesday quashed the order of Revenue Divisional Officer sealing the headquarters of AIADMK party.

Justice Sathish Kumar made the order on pleas filed by the new incumbent General Secretary Edappadi Palaniswamy and former Chief Minister O Paneerselvam challenging the lock and seal of the party headquarters.

The AIADMK party headquarters was locked and sealed by the RDO who exercised authority under Section 145 CrPC amid clashes between the EPS and OPS sects on 11th July 2022 after the party's meeting.

Allowing the plea filed by Edappadi Palaniswamy, the court directed the RDO to hand over the keys of the headquarters to Palaniswamy and also directed the police to provide necessary protection to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. In view of the violence that had taken place last week in connection with the sealing, the court also directed Edappadi Palaniswamy to not allow party cadres to enter the building premises. The court also directed the registry to keep the pendrive containing video footage of the violence in safe custody.

The court opined that the Executive Magistrate had passed orders under Section 145 without application of mind.

What is material is that the Executive Magistrate must be satisfied about the existence of the dispute asbenvisaged in Section 145(1) and assigned the grounds of his being so satisfied. The dispute must be related to the land, water or boundary thereof the dispute must be such which is likely to cause breach of peace. The Order impugned disclose that the Magistrate has formed opinion based on the FIR. Since the dispute between two faction of a political party. The dispute does not specifically indicate that the altercation is with regard to the possession of the properties.

The court opined that even the order under Section 146 was passed based on mere opinion and without any proper material. The orders under Section 14 and 146 were passed without making any mention about who was in actual possession of the subject of dispute at the time when the order was passed. 

Thus, the court was of the view that merely creating a dispute by creating a war like situation cannot be said to be an actual dispute existing with reference to the party office. The term dispute means there must be a reasonable dispute, bona fide dispute between the parties.

Previously, Edappadi Palaniswamy had contended that the procedure as contemplated under Section 145 and Section 146 CrPC were not followed. He contended that being the Headquarters Secretary was in possession of the party building. He also submitted that it was people belonging to the OPS faction who created conflicts which later led to a violent situation.

O. Paneerselvam, on the other hand contended that till 11th July, both him and EPS had possession over the party headquarters. He submitted that on the day of the meeting, he was prevented from entering the party office. He submitted that the Magistrate's work was to adjudicate on who was in actual possession of the party headquarters and not who had the right to possess the building.

Case Title: Edappadi K Palaniswamy v. Revenue Divisional Officer cum Sub Divisional Magistrate and others

Case No: CRL OP No. 16343 of 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 312

Counsel for the Petitioner: In Crl OP 16343 and 16695 of 2022: Mr. Vijay Narayan Senior Counsel for Mr.E. Balamurugan and Mr. Mohamed Riyaz

In Crl OP 16485 of 2022: Mr. A. Ramesh Senior Counsel for Mrs. P. Rajalakshmi

Counsel for the Respondent: Mr. E. Raj Thilak Additional Public Prosecutor [for R1 & R2], Mr.P.H. Aravindh Pandian Senior Counsel for Mr.C. Thirumaran [for R3 in Crl OP 16343 and 16695 of 2022]


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