Madras HC orders fresh elections of All India Chess Federation office-bearers

A Madras High Court Division Bench gave its order on a petition filed by the P. R. Venketrama Raja faction against the rejection of their nomination papers.

Bharat Singh Chauhan has been declared elected unopposed as the AICF Secretary on February 11.   -  S.S. Kumar

The Madras High Court on Tuesday set aside the election of five office-bearers of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) and asked the Returning Officer (RO) to convene a Special General Body Meeting for conduct of fresh elections.

A Division Bench of Justices M. M. Sundresh and Krishnan Ramasamy gave its order on a petition filed by the P. R. Venketrama Raja faction against the rejection of their nomination papers for the elections for the Federation officer-bearers by the RO, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

Kalifulla had on February 11 declared as elected Ajay Patel (President), Bharat Singh Chauhan (Secretary) and three others for various posts for the period 2020-2023.

The other three were Naresh Sharma (Treasurer), M. Arun Singh (Joint Secretary) and Vipnesh Bharadwaj (Vice-President).

The AICF is split into two factions -- one led by Venketrama Raja, who was the president before Patel was declared elected for the top post by the RO, and Chauhan. The two camps have been at loggerheads over various issues.

According to R. M. Dongre of the Venketrama Raja camp, whose nomination for the post of Secretary was rejected, the court said the RO has to conduct fresh elections for AICF.

READ | AICF elections: Returning officer declares Ajay Patel as president, Chauhan as secretary

He said a fresh notice for elections has to be issued and other procedures taken up, adding a general body meeting has to be called again.

With regard to the AICF website mentioning the names of Patel, Chauhan and other new office-bearers, Dongre said they have asked Chauhan to correct the Federation’s website.

On his part, Chauhan said an appeal would be filed against the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

“We will appeal in the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court’s decision,” he said.

Earlier, Kalifulla had rejected the nominations of 23 contestants -- including that of Raja and several others -- as they did not file their nominations in person as specified in para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code.

He later declared five people, who had filed their papers in person, including Ajay Patel and Chauhan, elected.

The Madras High Court had appointed Kallifulla as the RO to conduct the elections after the two factions approached it as they had called for general body meetings on different dates.

(With inputs from PTI)

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