The Madras High Court bench reserved its order on an impleading petition by AIADMK (Amma) faction leader T T V Dhinakaran, seeking extension of its October 31 deadline on the party symbol dispute case to February 28 next year.
Dhinakaran in his petition had pleaded for extension of the deadline, saying the Election Commission (EC) had sought fresh submissions and it would only expand the scope of the dispute. Besides, the EC should allow his group to file objections for the new submissions, he had said.
Dhinakaran had filed the impleading petition on a PIL by Ramkumar Adityan, an AIADMK member and advocate, on which the court had last month directed the EC to decide which faction enjoyed majority in the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and allot the symbol to it before October 31.
Adityan had filed a PIL seeking to direct the Election Commission to conduct an election among the party's general council and executive committtee and MLAs and MPs, totalling 3,100, to decide which group had the majority. Counsel for Chief Minister K Palaniswami faction today submitted that the EC had given sufficient time till October 4 for submission of documents.
He should have filed a review petition and not an interim petition and hence his petition should be dismissed, the counsel said. Justices M Venugopal and Abdul Qudhose reserved orders on the petition. Dhinakaran had yesterday sought a direction from the court to the EC not to enlarge the scope of the dispute and direct it to grant sufficient opportunity to the parties to effectively produce their defence, reply and rebuttal in case fresh affidavits are submitted.
Dhinakaran had claimed that 102 MLAs, 37 MPs and 1,912 general council and central executive committee members supported him. He submitted that the latest EC direction to make fresh submission would only enhance the scope of the dispute, and it would not be able to decide the dispute involving volumes of documents before October 31. Hence, he had sought extension of the deadline, set by the court in its September 15 order.
Adityan's petition was filed on August 22, a day after the two factions led by K Palaniswami and his predecessor O Panneerselvam merged, sidelining jailed party chief V K Sasikala and her deputy T T V Dhinakaran. The Election Commission had on March 23 issued an interim order, freezing the two leaves election symbol of the AIADMK.
On September 28, the EC had rejected Dhinakaran's plea to grant 15 days additional time to submit affidavits in the party symbol dispute case and had said the hearing would take place on October 6 as scheduled.