[Midnight Hearing In Madras High Court] Division Bench Restrains AIADMK From Making Changes to Bye Laws

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The Madras High Court on Thursday decided upon the appeals filed by AIADMK's general council member, M Shanmugham, against the order of the single judge refusing to prevent the party from making any amendments to its bye laws. 

The appeals were heard by a Division Bench of Justice Doraiswamy and Justice Sundar Mohan who heard the matter well past midnight. The hearing commenced around 2:00 am am and the order was pronounced around 5 am. 

The Division Bench's order came as a relief to the party, against the impugned order of the single judge of Justice Krishnan Ramasamy, who had refused to restrain the party from amending its byelaws.

The single judge bench had observed that it was a settled principle that the courts could not interfere in the internal affairs of a party/association, which had complete autonomy to pass resolutions and amend its byelaws. 

Division bench, on the other hand, restrained the party from making any resolutions other than the 23 subjects 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.


A notification calling for conducting a General Council Meeting of the AIADMK Party on June 23, 2022 was issued June 2, 2022. M Shanmugham, a member of the general council of the AIADMK, opposed the conduct of the meeting on the ground that no agenda papers had been circulated. 

He challenged the meeting before court and was represented by Senior Advocate Mr. G. Rajagopal, who submitted that there was no objection to conduct the General Council Meeting and to conduct the regular business of the party. However, the council could not make amendments to the Bye Laws of the party at the council meeting. He also 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 appeared for another Plaintiff, Ramkumar Adithyan, and argued that the previous amendments to the bye laws which had taken place should also not be given effect to.

The defendants on the other hand contended that even on previous occasions where various amendments, such as the post of General Secretary being abolished, were made, there was no agenda circulated and the matters placed were placed before the council and resolutions were passed on the floor of the meeting.

One of the defendants, O Panneerselvan, further submitted that in any case, he had already received an agenda of 23 subjects and only those would be decided during the meeting. He also submitted that no resolution in respect of the amendment of the bye laws would be passed without due process. 

Considering all the submissions, the single judge bench noted that the objections were not in respect of conducting the General Council Meeting and were only with respect to making amendments to the bye laws of the party. The court also observed that none of the parties had made out a prima facie case for interference of the court by way of an interim injunction. Hence the court was not inclined to pass any interim orders/directions and observed that the General Council meeting could go on as scheduled. 

However, the Madras High Court has now overturned said decision and restrained the party from making any decisions other than the 23 subjects circulated in the agenda.