Court-appointed returning officer directs AICF to deposit Rs 58.5 lakh to begin election process

The amount is towards remuneration for the returning officer Justice F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla, two Assistant Returning Officers, secretarial staff and other charges.

The Madras High Court has ordered the AICF to pay Justice F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla (right) a fee of Rs. 5 lakh.   -  R. Ravindran

The court-appointed returning officer has ordered the All India Chess Federation to deposit Rs 58.50 lakh towards providing remuneration to himself and for other charges to begin the election process according to the National Sports Code.

In his order, former Supreme Court judge Justice F. M. Ibrahim Kalifulla said the Madras High Court had on February 18 requested him to convene a Special General Body meeting for conducting AICF elections by sending fresh notices to all the members along with date, time and place of the polls.

He said the amount was towards remuneration for himself, for two Assistant Returning Officers, secretarial staff and other charges so that he could commence the election process.

”...the AICF is directed to pay a sum of Rs 50,00,000 towards the fees of the Returning Officer, Rs 3,00,000 for the two Assistant Returning Officers, Rs 50,000 towards the charges for Secretarial Assistant apart from a sum of Rs 5,00,000 to cover the expenses ...,” the returning officer said.

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Justice Kallifulla listed various election procedures contained in the National Sports Code for holding the polls in Hyderabad -- a venue decided by the Madras High Court.

He further said the entire exercise would involve work for more than 10 days for him as the Returning Officer, two Assistant Returning Officers and Secretarial Assistant.

The Madras high court had earlier appointed Kalifulla as the returning officer and ordered that the AICF should pay him a fee of Rs 5,00,000, apart from other expenses.

Reacting to the development, AICF secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said he had written to all the state associations on the issue and further steps would be taken after getting their views.

“I have written to all the state associations on the issue to get their views on the issue and then act accordingly. We have to wait till we get to know their (state associations’) views before deciding,” he told PTI.

The returning officer had on February 11 declared Ajay Patel (as president), Chauhan (secretary) and three others (Naresh Sharma-treasurer, M. Arun Singh-joint secretary and Vipnesh Bharadwaj-vice-president) elected unopposed for various posts for the period 2020-2023.

Kalifulla had rejected the nomination forms of 23 contestants -- including that of the then President P. R. Venketrama Raja and several others -- as they did not file their nominations in person as specified in the National Sports Code.

The five assumed office subsequently.

However, on February 18, the High Court set aside the election of the five office bearers and asked the Returning Officer to convene a Special General Body Meeting to conduct fresh polls.

The court dismissed the appeal by the Chauhan faction against the High Court order following which he moved the Supreme Court. The top court also junked the plea by the Chauhan group against the High Court ruling.

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