The Madras High Court on Friday called for fresh polls to be conducted in the South Indian Artistes’ Association aka Nadigar Sangam, after keeping the results of the election in cold storage for almost 7 months.
Retired High Court Judge B Gokuldoss has been appointed to oversee the elections this time.
Justice Kalyana Sundaram observed that the election, that was held on June 23, 2019, was announced after the end of the incumbent officer-bearers’ term and therefore was not valid.
The Nadigar Sangam will have to finalise a new electoral list before holding the elections. PV Geetha, Assistant Inspector General of Registration, will continue taking care of Nadigar Sangam’s functioning until then, Court said.
PV Geetha was appointed as the Special Officer in November last year by the government, to much disagreement from the incumbent officer-bearers of the Sangam. Incumbent General Secretary Vishal approached the Madras High Court for the removal of a government-appointed special officer to oversee the organisation's functioning. This move by the government was looked at as curbing the Nadigar Sangam's rights by some of its members.
The Nadigar Sangam elections took place on June 23 and recorded 1,604 votes out of a total of 3,171 votes in the union. The election which happens once in three years took place previously in 2015. This time it took place after a delay of more than 8 months.
The run-up to the election was mired in controversy as the Registrar of Societies had cancelled the elections citing irregularities in the electoral roll, based on a complaint from 61 members. The Registrar had also observed that any election-related decision taken by Nassar and his team of office-bearers cannot hold since their extended term already ended in April 2019.
The term of the office-bearers — including President Nassar, General Secretary Vishal, Vice Presidents Ponvannan and Karunas and Treasurer Karthi— had come to an end in October 2018. However, a general body meeting in August decided to give them a six-month extension.
The complainants had alleged that their names were removed from the voters' list by the contesting Pandavar Ani, led by Nasser, to skew the election results in their favour. However, the polls happened on June 23 after the members went to court. The results of the elections, however, were withheld by the court.
The opposing team, Swami Sankardas Ani, is headed by Director Bhagyaraj and also has producer Ishari Ganesh, actors Prashanth, Udhaya and Kutti Padmini on the team.