Chennai: Sasikala Pushpa, the expelled All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Rajya Sabha MP, on Friday sought an interim injunction from the Madras High Court to restrain the AIADMK from appointing Sasikala Natarajan as party general secretary.
Notably, former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa's close aide VK Sasikala is yet to give her consent to becoming the AIADMK general secretary.
Jayalalithaa, who had held the post of general secretary, died on December 05 following a prolonged illness.
Against the background of a chorus by partymen in support of Sasikala, called "Chinnamma" by her partymen, the plea against her election to the top party post was vehemently opposed by senior counsel B Kumar representing the ruling party when the matter came up before Justice K Kalyanasundaram.
AIADMK called Sasikala Pushpa's plea "vindictive”, stating that she did not challenge her expulsion from AIADMK. Ruling party advocate said she had "no locus standi" to plead in an internal party matter.
Pushpa's lawyer and senior counsel KM Vijayan argued that AIADMK's order expelling his client was not served on her till date. He affirmed that she had "locus standi" in the matter, she continued to represent AIADMK and notice may have been sent (only) to the Secretary, Rajya Sabha.
Referring to reports in the media that "few party members" wanted Sasikala to assume the post of AIADMK general secretary, the petition against Chinnamma's elevation said she was given party's primary membership in March 2012.
While Sasikala has completed only four and a half years as a primary member, the AIADMK bye-laws had an eligibility norm stipulating a primary membership for five continuous years to become general secretary, it was submitted.
The petitioner sought an interim injunction restraining the AIADMK from appointing Sasikala to the top post "unlawfully and arbitrarily."
Vijayan also contended that AIADMK bye-law of Section 20 (2) says that the General Secretary should be selected by all the primary members of all party units. He further submitted that AIADMK proposed to amend the party bye-laws to facilitate the appointment of Sasikala as General Secretary.
Assuming that the rule of "continuous five-year membership" was amended, still the "basic structure" for selection of General Secretary by all primary members of all party units cannot be amended.
Also, as per the Societies Registration Act, a minimum of 21 days notice has to be served on the members for attending the General Council whereas in this case no notice was served. Arguing that Sasikala fell short of six months to contest,
Vijayan said the basic structure of the bye-law cannot be amended by a small group of partymen.
"We do not want a short circuit selection of the General Secretary," he said.
AIADMK counsel Kumar submitted that petitioner Pushpa was already expelled from the party on August 1. "She has not challenged her expulsion. She has no locus standi to comment on the activities of AIADMK."
He said AIADMK, a recognised political party by Election Commission, was not registered under the Societies Registration Act. AIADMK was registered as a political party under Representation of the People (RP) Act with the EC, he submitted.
He said nowhere does the RP Act interfere into political matters of a party and management of party cannot be challenged adding "it is vindictive and not a bona fide".
Seeking to counter the point that Pushpa had locus standi, AIADMK counsel said still Rule 5(1) of the AIADMK prevented members from approaching any court in connection with party matters. He further argued that the issue of notice to party members did not apply.
Vijayan argued that the registration under RP Act was meant only for allotting symbols and contended that other relevant laws applied.
After hearing arguments of both sides, the Judge issued a notice to AIADMK, Sasikala Natarajan, and Election Commission, and posted the matter for further hearing on December 21.
Sasikala Natarajan was expelled from AIADMK in 2011 but was later reinducted.
(With PTI inputs)