The Election Commission of India has told the Supreme Court that it does not regulate or monitor inner-party functions or internal elections of any political party as the same is neither envisaged under the Constitution of India nor under any other law.
Filing an affidavit in the AIADMK leadership issue, the poll panel said the bye-laws dated July 11, 2022 were not taken on record by it as the same is under challenge before the top court.
"Election Commission does not regulate or monitor inner-party functions or internal elections of any political party as the same is neither envisaged under the Constitution of India nor under any other law. Only insofar as recognised political parties are concerned, the Election Commission is mandated to ensure that all recognised political parties report to it about the holding of their elections at prescribed intervals as provided in their respective party constitutions and that they also submit the list of office bearers elected at the Central level," the affidavit said.
The monitoring of such elections within the recognised political parties, by the Election Commission, is only to the extent that they are conducted in time as mentioned in the bye-laws of the party constitution, it added.
The Election Commission has filed its response on an application of AIADMK interim General Secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami seeking an interim order in the AIADMK leadership case while citing the deadline for filing nominations in the upcoming Erode (East) constituency by-polls.
The fresh application has sought directions to the Election Commission to upload the amendments made to the party by-laws during the July 11 general council meeting.
After five reminders since July 11 to the Election Commission to upload the amended by-laws of the party, Palaniswami again approached the Commission on January 23, it was claimed.
Palaniswami urged the poll panel to upload the amended by-laws or alternatively confirm in writing, authorising the interim General Secretary to sign the requisite forms to put up candidates for the Erode East by-poll.
It was contended before the apex court that the Election Commission refuses to accept the signature of Palaniswami as AIADMK's interim General Secretary during the nomination process ahead of the by-election to Erode (East) Assembly Constituency of Tamil Nadu, citing the pendency of cases on party leadership before the Supreme Court.
On the contention of Palaniswami that the poll panel refused to accept his signature as AIADMK's interim General Secretary, the EC said that "the Returning Officer being the statutory authority, has to exercise due diligence for acceptance of nomination of candidate duly authorised by the office bearer of the political party which is on record of the Election Commission."
February 7 is the last date for filing nominations for the by-election.
A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy will hear the case on Friday.
On January 11, the apex court bench had reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas relating to the tussle between former Chief Ministers O Panneerselvam (OPS) and Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) over AIADMK leadership.
In its General Council meeting held on July 11, the dual-leadership model in the AIADMK was ended and OPS was expelled from the party for "anti-party" activities during the party meeting.
In the meeting, EPS was elevated as the interim General Secretary of the party.
Since the passing away of former Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary J Jayalalithaa, the party has been having a dual leadership with OPS and EPS leading it as coordinator and joint coordinator respectively.
However, recently, disputes arose between both leaders, with the EPS group pressing for unitary leadership.
Erode (East) Assembly bye-election is to be conducted on February 27, the last date of nomination is on February 7 and the result to be announced on March 2. (ANI)