SC asks EC to decide row over AIADMK’s poll symbol by November 10
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would not stay the order of the high court asking the poll panel to decide the dispute by October 31 but would rather extend the time till November 10.india Updated: Oct 06, 2017 20:12 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Election Commission to decide by November 10 the claim of rival factions over the AIADMK’s two-leaves poll symbol and allowed it to go ahead with the scheduled hearing in the case.
TTV Dhinakaran, deputy general secretary of an AIADMK faction, had moved the apex court challenging two separate orders passed by the Madras high court on September 15 and October 5.
The Madurai bench of the high court, in its first order, asked the EC to decide the poll symbol row by October 31 and in the second order of October 5, rejected the plea of Dhinakaran seeking extension of time for disposal of the case by the poll panel.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it would not stay the order of the high court asking the poll panel to decide the dispute by October 31 but would rather extend the time till November 10.
Senior advocate Ashok Desai and lawyer Vivek Singh, representing Dhinakaran, said more than 7 lakh pages of affidavits and pleadings have been filed by the parties before the Election Commission and Dhinakaran be given sufficient time to respond to documents.
The bench, which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said that the poll panel being a high constitutional body is well equipped under the law to decide as to who is entitled to retain the symbol in case of dispute.
“We direct the Election Commission to commence hearing at 4 PM today and the time limit, given till October 31 by the High Court, is extended to November 10,” the bench said, adding that the poll panel shall be guided by the law.
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for other rival faction of AIADMK, said that soon after the death of J Jayalalithaa, a tripartite dispute arose in the party leading to freezing of the election symbol.
The high court, while hearing a PIL, asked the EC to decide the dispute within the time frame and Dhinakaran was trying to delay the proceedings, he said.
The court should not intervene in the domain of the Election Commission which is a competent constitutional office.
Rohatgi said there are over 1.5 crore members of the party and affidavits of nearly 130 MLAs and MPs and local council members have been submitted with the poll panel for effective decision of the case.
Desai and Vivek Singh, counsel for Dhinakaran, argued they have no problem with the time line if the other side was willing to withdraw the voluminous records.
V K Sasikala became General Secretary of AIADMK on December 29, 2016 after the death of Jayalalithaa and this was disputed by former MP K C Palanisami before the poll panel.
Later, other similar complaints were filed with the EC which, on March 22, passed an interim order freezing the AIADMK symbol leading to filing of a PIL in HC for early disposal of the poll symbol row.
The apex court disposed off the petition, saying the poll panel was a high constitutional body which was competent to deal with the question as per the provisions of the law.