By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Dec 13 (IANS) With the Returning Officer for the All India Chess Federation (AICF) elections, former Punjab and Haryana High Court judge K. Kannan overruling all the objections raised by Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan’s camp, the latter will approach the Madras High Court, said an advocate.
In his order finalising the electoral college for the AICF polls, Kannan had overruled all the objections raised by the Chauhan camp and ordered that the voter list finalised for the February 2020 elections will hold good for the fresh polls as well.
“We will be moving an application in the Madras High Court. The Returning Officer has not considered the objections of our client. The documents submitted in support of our objections have not been considered,” Sanjay Chadha, advocate for Chauhan, told IANS.
“Further a copy of the documents submitted by the opposite camp was not given to us,” Chadha added.
The AICF is split into two factions – one headed by former President P.R. Venketrama Raja and the other by Chauhan.
As per a recent Madras High Court order, Chauhan is the Secretary only for signing AICF cheques.
Chadha also said the Returning Officer did not seek the assistance of the Central government in interpreting the National Sports Development Code of India as suggested by the Madras High Court in its order.
According to him, the Andaman and Nicobar Chess Association was not affiliated to the state government. If members of that association are allowed to vote then, the AICF may not get the recognition as the National Sports Federation from the Central government.
Similarly, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has banned the state chess association, Chadha said.
“The Rajasthan government has a passed a law that the state association has to be recognised by the government. The All Rajputana Chess Association is not recognised by the Rajasthan government as it was not registered under the Rajasthan Sports (Legislation, Registration Recognition and Regulation of Association) Act 2005. Can a Returning Officer over rule the law passed by the elected representatives of the people,” Chadha wondered.
The AICF had disaffiliated Rajasthan Chess Association on March 23, 2006 and there was no court relief against the disaffiliation.
On the issue, Kannan, in his order, had said: “All that has to be seen is that as per the guidelines for National Sports Federation, the affiliation could be given only to one association in one state. The disaffiliation to Rajasthan State Association has not been recalled. Then it is possible to consider only one association from the state. I have satisfied myself that the Rajputana Chess Association fulfills the eligibility criteria of having affiliated 22 District units out of 33 Districts in Rajasthan.”
Kannan, in his order, had said that the National Sports Development Code, that sets the eligibility criteria or the election guidelines, does’nt make any reference to the “Registration” of a State Association as the necessary qualification.
“All that National Sports Development Code lays down is that 50 per cednt of the District Associations shall be affiliated to the State Body. It was nobody’s contention that this eligibility criterion is lacking either for All Marathi Chess Association or the Rajputana Chess Association,” Kannan said in his order rejecting the objections raised against the two state chess associations being part of the AICF electoral college.
Kannan also overruled the objection raised by Chauhan camp against the voting right of Telangana State Chess Association President A. Narasimha Reddy as he is also the President of that state’s Table Tennis Association.
A person cannot hold two posts as per the National Sports Development Code was Chauhan camp’s contention.
On the other hand, Kannan, in his order overruling the objection, said the bar on a person holding posts in two sports bodies is applicable only in respect of the National Sports Federation and not at the state level.
According to Chadha, the Returning Officer did not follow two things, viz decide on the objections and form a new electoral college and he did not take the help of the Central government.
The Madras High Court, on November 9, had said: “Hence, this Court is of the view that if the election officer is appointed, the decision of the election officer will be final and he will decide the issues strictly following the National Sports Code. It is also open to the election officer to seek assistance of any officials of Ministry of Sports as to the National Sports Code.”
Naresh Sharma, General Secretary, the Haryana Chess Association told IANS: “The Returning Officer’s order is totally in favour of the opposite camp. Nevertheless, we will fight and win the polls as the numbers are in our favour. We have the support of about 20 state chess associations out of 32 which translates into 40 votes – two votes for each state association,”
According to him, there will not be any change in the contestants from Chauhan’s camp from those who had contested during the February polls – the results of which were cancelled by the Madras High Court.
Meanwhile, the Raja camp is happy with the Returning Officer’s order.
“I am happy,” Vijay Deshpande, Secretary, All Marathi Chess Association, told IANS.
According to him, the voter numbers are stacked heavily in favour his camp viz 38-26.
Interestingly, a chess board has 64 squares and the aspirant office bearers are also hunting for support out of 64 votes.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)