The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation petition which sought a direction to the Election Commission of India to freeze the 'two leaves' symbol due to the infighting between AIADMK leaders Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam.
Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala also imposed costs of ₹25,000 on the litigant P.A. Josseph, president of unregistered JJ Party, after observing that he appeared to be a busybody who had filed the case for publicity.
The judges pointed out that the present PIL petition was absolutely unnecessary when the party leaders had already invoked the civil jurisdiction to settle their disputes and the court had been passing a series of orders on those suits.
In his affidavit, the PIL petitioner had accused Mr. Palaniswami of having spent ₹5,000 crore for becoming the general secretary of the AIADMK and speculated that he was planning to spend another ₹1,000 crore for occupying the post through amendment of bylaws.
He claimed that a Tamil magazine had reported about the money that had been allegedly spent by Mr. Palaniswami and that the message was also being circulated widely on social media.
Since the former Chief Minister had not refuted such allegation, “we assume he spent such huge lump sum amount of money for capturing the general secretary post of AIADMK. It is clear violation of democracy and guidelines of Election Commission of India,” the petitioner said and insisted upon freezing the ‘two leaves’ symbol.
Further, he stated it must be assumed that the money being spent was actually looted from the public exchequer during Mr. Palaniswami's stint as Chief Minister. The petitioner also said the cold war between him and Mr. Panneerselvam had snowballed into a caste issue too since they belong to different castes.
Claiming that the Election Commission of India had remained a mute spectator on the issue despite sending a representation to it on June 29, the petitioner said that the Commission must necessarily interfere in the issue and find a solution to the tussle between the two leaders of the party.