By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Aug 20 (IANS) The courtroom battle for the control of All India Chess Federation (AICF) seems to have begun all over again.
This time, the General Secretary of Andhra Pradesh Chess Association (APCA), Y. Suman, has filed a case in the Madras High Court for annulling the elections that were held earlier this year.
Suman also filed another petition to declare the election of AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan as void as he reportedly did not secure the required number of votes as per the National Sports Development Code 2011.
“The elections were held in contravention of the National Sports Development Code and the bylaws of AICF stipulating voting by secret ballot. Further, Chauhan’s election was also not valid as per the National Sports Development Code,” Suman told IANS.
Suman said the Returning Officer for AICF elections, K. Kannan, a retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, included a new feature in the online voting whereby the voters were able to click an option to ‘see their vote’, thereby eliminating the secrecy of the ballot.
This feature was misused and exploited as voters on January 4, 2021 took screenshots of their voting and circulated the same, thereby influencing the other voters, and also to prove their allegiance to the faction led by AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, Suman alleged in his court petition.
According to Suman, the screenshots were also sent to the members of the rival faction led by then AICF President P.R. Venketrama Raja.
Contending that Chauhan’s election as Secretary is void, Suman cited a letter dated September 20, 1975 from the then Department of Education under the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare as to ‘conditions for financial and other assistance to National Sports Federations/Associations etc.’, which is not part of the National Sports Development Code.
He said that as per that letter, an office-bearer of a National Federation/Association may hold office as such for one term of four years, and may be eligible for re-election for a similar term or period.
Suman said that according to that letter, an office-bearer who has completed one term and stands for election for a second term should secure not less than two-third votes.
In the event of failure to obtain such a majority, the concerned office-bearer shall be deemed to have lost the election.
The office would thereafter be filled by election under the normal procedure from among candidates other than the office-bearer seeking re-election, Suman said.
He said Chauhan secured 35 out of 64 votes while his rival Ravindra Dongre got 29 votes. Chauhan was declared elected based on the simple majority principle.
“Chauhan should have got 47 votes to get elected under the two-third majority rule,” Suman said.
Suman, belonging to the Raja faction, had unsuccessfully contested the elections for the post of Joint Secretary.
The AICF under the new management has derecognised the APCA and has recognised a new body called Andhra Chess Association.
“The new body, Andhra Chess Association, was registered with the Registrar of Societies, Visakhapatnam, in March 2021,” Suman said.
According to him, out of the 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh, the new association has only two district affiliates while the balance nine are with APCA, the derecognised association.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at email@example.com)