Indian Court Affords Police Protection to Non-Adventist Officials Overseeing Controversial Adventist Constituency Election
19 April 2018 | A long-delayed constituency election for an Adventist conference in India has been ordered to take place within two months by the Madras High Court. Non-Adventist overseers will be paid and given police protection to ensure the election proceeds as ordered.
In an April 18 news report, India’s The Hindu newspaper reported that Pastor Sam Sudhakar, the previous president of North Tamil Conference of the Adventist Church in Tamil Nadu, India, had allegedly stalled elections in his constituency since 2007 and had incorrectly held on to his role as president.
The newspaper reported that the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court “took cognisance of the fact that Pastor Sam Sudhakar… continued to hold the post, by creating disputes with false claims through his brother Daniel Chandrasekar, thereby stalling the election process from 2007.”
The decision comes after officials from the South East India Union took Sudhakar, Chandrasekar, Executive Committee Members of the North Tamil Conference and other denominational representatives to court over the delayed election.
Chandrasekar had sought injunctions against the election for president of the North Tamil Conference. These had been allowed by lower courts. However, the Madras High Court ruled that the lower courts that allowed for these alleged election stalling procedures were misled and that the process of law had been disrupted. The higher court has now struck down the orders from the lower courts.
To ensure that the delayed constituency election happens, The Madras High Court has appointed retired Judge of the Madras High Court V. Dhanabalan to serve as election officer and advocate R. Karunanidhi to assist him.
For their service Dhanabalan and Karunanidhi will be paid Rs. 500,000 (USD 7,560) and Rs. 100,000 (USD 1,512) respectively by the North Tamil Conference per court instructions.
According to the Adventist denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, the North Tamil Conference has 27,822 members. The ASTR listing leaves blank spaces next to the offices of president and secretary-treasurer for the conference. The Adventist Church in India claims 1.5 million members.