Indian parliamentarian Sasikala Pushpa, who had been expelled from AIADMK, has moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe or a judicial investigation by an apex court judge into the death of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
In her petition, Sasikala Pushpa has alleged that Jayalalithaa’s death was “suspicious” as her actual medical condition was not disclosed, no one was allowed to visit her, her funeral photographs showed embalming marks and everything from her hospitalisation to her death “was kept under wraps”.
The Rajya Sabha MP has sought directions to the centre, the Tamil Nadu government and Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa was hospitalised, to disclose details of her health report and treatment in a sealed cover to the apex court.
A similar plea was filed this week in the apex court by Tamil Nadu Telugu Yuva Sakthi claiming that doubts have been raised over the circumstances of the AIADMK leader’s death and her medical reports needed to be examined by experts.
Sasikala Pushpa is also legally challenging the appointment of V.K. Sasikala, a close confidante of Jayalalithaa, as the Tamil Nadu ruling party AIADMK general secretary.
The AIADMK countered by challenging locus standi of Sasikala Pushpa and husband to file the petition.
The Madras High Court on Friday ordered notices to the AIADMK and V.K. Sasikala on a petition filed by Sasikala Pushpa and her husband.
The couple has sought a court order to maintain status quo in the party against electing V.K. Sasikala as the general secretary.
The court, however, refused to pass any interim order after hearing hour-long arguments, on the locus standi of the MP and her husband to seek such relief.
Alleging that attempts were being made to elect V.K. Sasikala as the party supremo bypassing the party bylaws which mandated that the general secretary can be elected only in a general body meeting of the AIADMK, the Rajya Sabha MP and her husband who claimed to be primary members of the party moved a suit seeking status quo till the procedures are properly followed.
Moving the suit on behalf of Sasikala Pushpa and her husband Lingeswara Thilagan, senior advocate K.M. Vijayan said, “The primary eligibility to contest the election for the general secretary is that the contestant must have been a primary member of the party continuously for five years.
Sasikala was expelled from the party by the then general secretary Jayalalithaa in December 2011.
It was only in March 2012 she was again given the primary membership.
“So far, she has not completed the mandated five years, and hence, is ineligible to contest.
“Though this rule can be amended by passing a resolution in the general body, the mandate that only a general body can elect the general secretary cannot be amended as there was a bar in the bylaw to make such modification,” Vijayan argued.
Pointing out that the bylaws do not provide a notice period after which a general body can be convened, the senior counsel said, “When the bylaw is silent about an issue, those aspects would be governed by the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975. According to the Act, a 21-day notice must be given to convene the general body.”
Denying the contentions, senior advocate B. Kumar who appeared for the AIADMK said, “We have strong objections on the maintainability of the suit. The first plaintiff Sasikala Puspha has been expelled from the party on August 1, 2016, and thus, she does not hold any locus standi to move this suit against the AIADMK. Also, it had to be verified whether Pushpa’s husband was indeed a primary member of the party. However, the bylaws of the AIADMK prohibit a member from approaching the court assailing the party’s decision on any issue.
“When a member approaches the court violating the bylaw, his membership automatically gets terminated, and hence, by his act of filing this suit, the second plaintiff has lost his membership and consequently lost his locus standi,” the senior counsel added.
Denying the argument that the provisions of the Societies Act bind the AIADMK, Kumar said, “The AIADMK is registered under the Representation of Peoples Act as a political party and not under the Societies Act as a society. Hence, the provisions of Societies Act would not apply to the party.”
Noting that there are lot of misconceptions in the arguments, Vijayan said, “Though it is claimed that the first plaintiff (Sasikala Pushpa) has been expelled from the party, so far no communication has been sent to her about the expulsion.
“Even the Rajya Sabha secretary has not been informed of such a decision. Till now, she is attending the Rajya Sabha representing the AIADMK. As far as the second plaintiff is concerned, it is his constitutional right to approach a court of law. Such a right cannot be curtailed by a bylaw.”
Recording the arguments put forth by both the parties, Justice K. Kalyanasundaram ordered notices to the AIADMK and V.K. Sasikala and posted the suit to December 21 for filing counter affidavits.