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HC restrains Dy. CM’s brother from heading milk producers’ union

‘Elections for posts not held’

A week after the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court restrained former AIADMK legislator K. Tamilarasan from continuing as chairman of the Madurai District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union, the court on Thursday restrained O. Raja, brother of Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, from continuing as chairman of the Theni District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union.

The two Unions were formed following the bifurcation of the Madurai Union in August 2019. In both cases, it was alleged that the chairman and the executive members of the Unions were appointed and not elected. Following the bifurcation, elections should have been held for executive members and office-bearers. However, it was alleged that the existing office-bearers were continuing in their posts.

A Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and R. Tharani restrained the chairman and the executive members of the Theni District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union from continuing in their posts till further orders. The court adjourned the hearing in the case by three weeks for the respective parties to file their counter-affidavits.

During the course of the hearing, it was submitted that the said arrangement was only interim in nature. However, the court observed that even if that were the case, there should be sanctity of law. The court said it would “go by legality and not personality” when it was argued that the chairman of the Theni Union was being targeted. It was hearing a petition filed by V.P. Ammavasai, of Theni, who alleged that the members of the ruling AIADMK were appointed as executive and board members of the milk producers’ union. The petitioner said holding a public post without following the electoral process was unconstitutional. He sought a direction to restrain the chairman and the executive members from continuing in their posts.

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