AICF Elections: Chauhan panel set to get elected unopposed after 23 nomination papers found invalid

Only five nominees are in the fray for as many posts in the All India Chess Federation after 23 nomination papers were found invalid on Sunday.

Bharat Singh Chauhan is in the fray for the post of AICF Secretary.   -  s.s. kumar

Notwithstanding legal intervention and delay, secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan and four members of his election panel are set to get elected unopposed to the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for the term 2020-2023.

The situation arose after the nomination papers filed by his rival presidential candidate Venketrama Raja and 22 others were found invalid by Madras High Court-appointed Returning Officer Justice F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla on Sunday.

Since there are only five nominees in the fray for as many posts – Messrs Ajay Patel (President), Vipnesh Bhardwaj (vice-president), Bharat Singh Chauhan (secretary), Arun Singh (joint secretary) and Naresh Sharma (treasurer) – they could be declared elected unopposed, ahead of the scheduled voting in Hyderabad on February 23.

Ravindra Dongre, whose papers for the post of secretary from Raja’s panel were found invalid, told Sportstar, “Soon, we will approach an appropriate court of law to challenge the order of the Returning Officer.”

Advocate Sanjay Chadha, who argued for Chauhan and his panel, said, “going by precedence, once the election process begins under the Court-appointed Returning Officer, it cannot be stalled. The Returning Officer can now declare those with valid nominations as elected unopposed. Those unhappy with the result can move a petition challenging the election.”

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After the scrutiny of nomination papers was taken up on February 8 in Chennai and the rival factions put forth their arguments through their advocates, Justice Kalifulla rejected 23 nominations.

In his 11-page order, Kalifulla highlighted the main reason for rejection of nominations was the violation of para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code, which reads as under: “6.4 - Each nomination paper shall be delivered personally to the Returning Officer in person by the candidate himself/herself from…”

Elaborating on his verdict, Kalifulla stated, “the inevitable conclusion would be that any candidate who wish to contest for any of the posts either President or Vice President or Secretary or Joint Secretary or Treasurer, he should file his nomination paper personally by handing it over to the Returning Officer and the said condition will have to be scrupulously followed.

“When that is the ultimate resultant position of the implication of para 6.4 of the Code and the attending circumstances, in the present case, I find that the candidature of the following persons for different posts having failed to comply with the mandatory requirement of para 6.4, they cannot be held to be validly nominated candidates:

List of nominations found invalid:

President: P. R. Venketrama Raja; Secretary: Ravindra Dongre;

Treasurer: Kishor Bandekar;

Vice-president(s): A. Narasimha Reddy, G. Basker, Jagdish Singh Cheema, V. Chandra Sekhar Iyer, Ajay Ajmera, Sanjay Kapoor, Dhiraj Singh Raghuvanshi, Niapung Konia, P. C. Lallianthanga and D. P. Anantha.

Joint-secretary: Atul Kumar, Pradip Kumar Choudhuri, R. Rajesh, Atanu Lahiri, Y. Suman, G. Sankar, Diljeet Khanna, Mahendra Dhakal, Mughaho Awomi and Bonney Kharbani.

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