Madras HC quashes order to seal AIADMK office, keys to be handed to EPS

The court has prohibited EPS from allowing party cadres inside the headquarters to prevent further untoward incidents.
The AIADMK headquarters in Chennai
The AIADMK headquarters in Chennai
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday, July 20, quashed the Revenue Division Office’s order for the sealing of the AIADMK headquarters in Chennai. The court ordered that the keys to the office be given to party interim General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami, however, the court has prohibited him from allowing any party cadres inside, to prevent any untoward incidents. 

The AIADMK headquarters here was sealed by authorities on Monday following violence and vandalism between supporters of rival leaders EPS and O Panneerselvam in and around the party office. While OPS walked out of the party office with his supporters after asserting that he would approach court, pursue legal action and go to party workers seeking justice, revenue officials sealed the AIADMK headquarters, MGR Maaligai. The action was taken in the wake of violence between supporters of the two groups, authorities said. Following this, EPS slammed Panneerselvam as the 'stooge' of ruling DMK and blamed him for the violence. He also alleged that OPS had stolen records from the party office and the office chamber used by late party supremo J Jayalalithaa was broken open.

On July 12, the Madras High Court agreed to hear a plea filed by EPS and OPS seeking to un-seal the party headquarters. A bench of Justice N. Sathish Kumar told the petitioners that the court Registry will have to move through Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari as both Palanisami and Panneerselvam are members of the Assembly. Both petitions will go through regular procedures, he said, as counsel representing Palaniswami asked for an urgent hearing of the matter.

The clashes on July 11 came after the crucial General Council meeting of the party wherein a single-leadership motion was passed. After months of battle between EPS and OPS regarding the issue of party leadership, EPS was voted as the AIADMK’s interim General Secretary. OPS was also removed from his position of deputy floor leader in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The party made this announcement on Tuesday, July 19. Former Minister RB Udhayakumar was elected as AIADMK's deputy leader in the Assembly.

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