The Madras High Court tonight upheld an order of a single judge dismissing a plea to stay tomorrow’s AIADMK general council and executive committee meeting convened by Chief Minister K Palaniswami-led faction. A Division Bench comprising Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Abdul Quddhose in its order said, “We agree with the conclusion reached by the learned single judge.” Justice C V Karthikeyan in his order earlier in the day had dismissed a plea by P Vetrivel, MLA, a loyalist of sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, seeking a stay on the meeting, and imposed a cost of Rs one lakh on him for “wasting” the time of the court. The Bench said the meeting can “go on” and there is “no stay” while upholding the single judge’s order. The court made it clear that any decision taken at the impugned meeting will be subject to the final outcome in the appeal and posted the matter to October 23.
Also, the bench said the observations made by it would in no manner impact the decision that the Election Commission of India will take in the dispute pending before it. “Consequently, the prayer made to injuct the impugned meet or to stay the order of the single judge is rejected,” the bench ruled. In his suit, the MLA had sought a permanent injunction restraining Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam from in any manner using the name AIADMK (Amma) and AIADMK (Puratchi Talaivi Amma), and calling the general council meeting. He also filed an application seeking an interim order staying the meeting. The judge said that being an MLA, the applicant should have taken note of a circular issued by the High Court earlier, which stated that MPs and MLAs should first get the nod of the Chief Justice for filing petitions.
Without getting the nod, Vetrivel has filed the suit, the judge said. Referring to the contention of his counsel that the suit has been filed in Vetrivel’s individual capacity and also that the defendants had been sued in their individual names, Justice Karthikeyan said it had only helped the applicant to circumvent the court’s circular. Coming down heavily on the applicant, the judge in his order said he did not have any cause of action. He then said Vetrivel had three options — attend tomorrow’s meeting either in his individual capacity or as an MLA or choose to remain at his house with his family and friends and enjoy lunch and afternoon siesta or resign his post as a legislator and be rid of the irritants which upset his balance and peace of mind.
Referring to the suit naming Dhinakaran as the fourth defendant, he said this was actually a very “condemnable” practice. Such practices were being sometimes followed in several litigations, “wherein a ‘should be plaintiff’ is shown as the defendant so that at an opportune time, he could effectively stab the contesting defendants in the back. “Probably it is in this background that the applicant impleaded Dhinakaran as fourth defendant. This in simple terms is collusion. Then the entire character of the suit becomes vexatious,” the judge added. When Vetrivel’s counsel made a request to grant liberty to the petitioner to approach the Election Commission against the general council meet, the judge observed that no one could prevent any person from approaching an appropriate forum to vent grievances.
Later, senior counsel T V Ramanujam appeared before the first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar and made a special mention stating that they would file an appeal against the single judge’s order. He sought an urgent hearing of the appeal since the meeting was to be held tomorrow. The chief justice told the counsel to file the appeal and approach the appropriate bench for taking up the issue.