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Midnight Hearing At Judge's Residence : Madras High Court Restrains AIADMK General Council From Passing Any Resolution

Upasana Sajeev
23 Jun 2022 2:58 AM GMT
Madras High Court Conducts Midnight Hearing To Decide On Appeal Challenging Single Judge Order Against Restraining AIADMK General Council From Amending Byelaws
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The Madras High Court conducted a midnight hearing to decide upon the appeals preferred by M Shanmugham, AIADMK's general council member against the single judge order passed earlier in the day where the single judge refused to restrain the party from making any amendments to its bye-laws.

The appeals were heard by Justice Sunder Mohan and Justice Duraiswamy at the former's residence. The bench restrained the party from making any resolutions other than the 23 resolutions already approved. The court observed that it was important for the members to be informed about what was going on and no resolutions could be passed without such an agenda.

The hearing commenced at around 12.30 am and the interim order was pronounced around 4.30 am.

Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Krishnan Ramasamy had refused to restrain the party from amending its bylaws. The court had observed that it was a settled principle that the courts cannot interfere in the internal affairs of a party/association. It was open for the association/party to pass resolutions and frame bye-laws.

Aggrieved by the same, the appellants approached Chief Justice Muniswar Nath Bhandari seeking permission to prefer an appeal. The same was granted late in the night. The division bench, after hearing the arguments, passed the order in the early hours on Thursday.

Single Bench order

The Single Bench observed :

In fact, it is well settled that in matter of internal issues of an association/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 since any decision comes forth among the Members of the General Council, it is well within their collective wisdom and this Court cannot insist the Members to act upon in a particular manner.

Hence, the court observed that it was for the General Council and its members to decide and pass resolutions and the court could not interfere with the conduct of the meetings. The court, therefore, observed that the General Council Meeting could go on as scheduled.

Background

A Notification calling for conducting a General Council Meeting of the AIADMK Party on 23.06.2022 was issued on 02.06.2022. M Shanmugham, the party's general council member approached the court and opposed the conduct of the meeting primarily on the ground that no agenda papers were circulated.

Senior Advocate Mr. G. Rajagopal, appearing for the plaintiff submitted that there was no objection to conducting the General Council Meeting and to conduct the regular business but argued against making any amendments to the Bye-Laws of the Party at the council meeting. He submitted that no resolution should be passed for amending Rule 20-A (1) to (13) of the Bye-Laws of AIADMK and that any such amendments would defeat the purpose of the suit.

Senior Advocates PS Raman and NGR Prasad, appearing for another plaintiff Mr Ramkumar Adithyan contended that on previous occasions, resolutions were passed and amendments were taken place even abolishing the post of General Secretary and creating the posts of Coordinator and Joint Coordinator. He contended that these amendments should not be given effect to. He reported no objection to conduct the meeting except that no further amendments should take place in the General Council Meeting.

Senior Advocate PH Aravind Pandiyan, appearing for the 4th defendant/Co-ordinator of the party O Panneerselvam contended that he had received an Agenda consisting of 23 subjects and only those would be decided during the meeting. He also submitted that no resolution in respect of the amendment of bye Laws would be passed without due process. He also submitted that among the 23 subjects that were approved on the Agenda, there was no resolution as regards the amendment of the Rules. He also submitted that since the affairs of the party were functioning effectively, there was no need to amend any Rules. He also contended that even if any amendment was proposed by way of resolution, him being the Coordinator had powers under the bye Laws to act upon the same and not give effect to such resolution. He thus submitted that the General Council meeting could go on, but the Court may make observations that no resolution in respect of amendment of any Rule or Bye Law should be passed.

Senior Advocate Vijay Narayan, appearing for the Joint Coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami contended that even on previous occasions where the post of General Secretary was abolished and new posts were created, there was no agenda and the matters were placed during the meeting and the resolutions were passed on the floor of the meeting. He submitted that it was the general practice not to circulate any agenda before amendment and that usually when 1/5th of members make a request and it is backed by the overwhelming support, the amendment gets passed. He also submitted that the court could not predict what was going to take place at the General Council meeting and therefore could not pass any resolution in that regard. He also submitted that the party, being a private party was not bound by any statute and if members were aggrieved by the resolutions, it was always open for them to take recourse in a manner known to law.

Considering all the submissions, the court noted that all parties reported no objection to conduct the General Council Meeting and the objections were only with respect to making amendments to the Rules and Regulations of the party. The court also observed that none of the parties had made out any prima facie case for grant of interim injunctions and had approached the court merely on the apprehension that resolutions may be passed in the meeting in respect of amendment of the Rules and Regulations of the party. Hence, the court was not inclined to pass any interim orders/directions and observed that the General Council meeting could go on as scheduled.

Click here to read/download the judgment


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