HC suggests Nadigar Sangam change its election venue

The Madras High Court on Tuesday suggested that the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association, popularly known as the Nadigar Sangam, could select an alternative venue for its elections scheduled to be held on Sunday, since the city police were of the view that the Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science in Raja Annamalaipuram may not be a conducive place for the actors to congregate in large numbers.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh granted a day’s time for Krishna Ravindran, counsel for the Nadigar Sangam, to find out whether the election could be held elsewhere.

Earlier, State Public Prosecutor A. Natarajan had informed the court that it would not be possible to provide police protection at the college in R.A. Puram due to reasons such as inadequacy of the place and possibility of hindrance that may be caused to the general public. It was also brought to the notice of the court that the college management had already given their auditorium on hire for staging actor S.Ve. Shekhar’s popular drama Alwaah, and therefore it would not be possible to conduct the association elections there.

The SPP also assured the court that the police would provide necessary security if the association selects any other mutually agreeable venue.

In his affidavit, Nadigar Sangam secretary and actor Vishal Krishna claimed that former High Court judge E. Padmanabhan was appointed as election officer for the polls and it was he who had chosen the college at R.A. Puram as the venueafter taking into consideration several relevant factors.

Sufficient capacity

Though there were over 3,000 eligible voters in the Nadigar Sangam, more than 1,000 were expected to vote through postal ballot and even among the rest, only 1,500 to 2,000 members were expected to vote in person, the petitioner said and claimed that the college could easily accommodate them as well as their cars.

Recalling that the city police had made good security arrangements during the 2015 elections at the instructions of the then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who was also a member of the association, the petitioner said: “Unfortunately, this time the police have not really been transparent in informing the association or the Election Officer if they would provide adequate protection or not.”

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