By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Feb 13 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Thursday reserved its orders on the appeal filed by the side led by All India Chess Federation’s (AICF) outgoing President P.R.Venketrama Raja against rejection of their nomination papers filed in the polls for the association’s officer-bearers by the Returning Officer, said an advocate.
“The court has reserved its order. The argument on our part was that the Returning Officer (former Supreme Court judge, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla) need not have returned the nomination papers filed on January 31 as the main purpose of returning them was to give time for the opposite camp to file their nomination papers,” senior advocate P.S. Raman, who had appeared for Raja side, told IANS.
According to Raman, filing the nomination papers in person is only for the purpose of identification of the person and it was only a procedural issue.
He also urged the nomination papers should be accepted and the election for electing AICF office-bearers for 2020-2023 should be held in Hyderabad on February 23 as decided earlier.
On Tuesday, Justice Kalifulla (retd) declared five persons, all from the opposing camp, as elected unopposed. The five are Ajay H. Patel as President, Bharat Singh Chauhan as the Secretary, Naresh Sharma as Treasurer, M. Arun Singh as Joint Secretary and Vipnesh Bharadwaj as Vice President.
In his order, he also said the proposed election scheduled on February 23 in Hyderabad cannot take place.
Earlier, Kalifulla had rejected the nomination forms of 23 contestants — including that of Raja and several others — as they did not file their nominations in person as specified in the para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code.
The nominations of 15 contestants belonging to the Raja camp were filed with the returning officer by D.V. Sundar, then Vice President, AICF.
While rejecting the nominations, Kalifulla said, in his order, that the nominations were returned to Sundar after a division bench of Madras High Court ordered on February 3: “The returning officer is to permit the members of the association to file nominations for the posts of President, Secretary, Joint Secretary and Treasurer before him up to 6 p.m. on February 6.”
Kalifulla, in his order, said that in the light of the above facts read along with para 6.4 of the National Sports Development Code, the inevitable conclusion would be that candidates who wish to contest for the posts of President, Secretary, Vice President, Joint Secretary and Treasurer should file their nomination papers personally by handing them over to the Returning Officer.
He said this condition should be followed scrupulously.
Raman expects the court to pronounce its order on Friday.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])