NEW DELHI, Feb 23 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Madras High Court order allowing K Palaniswami to continue as interim general secretary of the AIADMK, establishing his position as the single, supreme leader of the party.
A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, which had reserved judgement on the matter on January 12, dismissed the petitions filed by O Panneerselvam.
“We have upheld the order of the division bench of the high court dated September 2, 2022 and made our earlier interim order permanent. We have not dealt with the matter of resolutions before the party that were being heard by the single judge. We leave it open for the said resolutions to be dealt with in accordance in law,” the bench said.
The judgement came on batch of pleas concerning amendments made to party bylaws during the July 11, 2022 general council meeting, which elected Palaniswami, or EPS as he is known, as its single leader while expelling his rival Panneerselvam and some of his aides.
In Chennai, celebrations broke out at the AIADMK headquarters here after news of the Supreme Court ruling came in.
Elated over the Supreme Court verdict, Palaniswami said the ruling has unmasked “betrayers” and the “DMK’s B-team” that wanted to finish off his party.
The favourable apex court was a result of the ‘divinity’ of party stalwarts, the late chief ministers M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, he said.
On September 2, a division bench of the Madras High Court had allowed Palaniswami’s appeal, setting aside an order of the single judge who had nullified the July 11 General Council (GC) meeting of the AIADMK where the leader of opposition Palaniswami was elected the interim general secretary of the party.
Panneerselvam (OPS), a Jayalalithaa loyalist who filled in for her as the chief minister when she was in jail over corruption charges, was expelled from the party.
The division bench had quashed the August 17 order of the single judge who had directed maintenance of status quo ante as on June 23, 2022.
After Jayalalithaa’s demise, EPS became the chief minister and OPS his deputy. Under a reciprocatory arrangement, Panneerselvam was appointed the party coordinator and Palaniswami the joint coordinator, till they eventually had a falling out.
The high court’s directive was for maintenance of the then existing dual power structure in the party.