By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Feb 11 (IANS) With their electoral nominations getting rejected, All India Chess Federation (AICF) President P.R. Venketrama Raja and others have approached the Madras High Court for relief, an aggrieved contestant said on Tuesday.
“We have approached the Madras High Court against the order of AICF returning officer, retired Supreme Court judge Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, rejecting our electoral nominations,” FIDE zone 3.7 President R.M. Dongre, a former Maharashtra state player, told IANS.
FIDE is the global chess body and Dongre, who belongs to the Raja camp, had his nomination for AICF Secretary’s post rejected.
On Sunday, Kalifulla rejected the nomination forms of 23 contestants — including that of incumbent President 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.
“We have the voter numbers in our favour and were sure of winning the elections. So, there was no need for us to deliberately violate the procedure for filing of the nominations. From day one, the AICF President was in favour of polls and it was he who had called it first,” Dongre said.
“As per the voter list, the Raja camp has a slight advantage and they might have won had the nominations were not rejected on the grounds of being not filed in person,” a chess master told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The nominations of 15 contestants belonging to the Raja camp were filed with the returning officer by D.V. Sundar, Vice President, AICF.
According to Dongre, all the candidates were present near the office of Kalifulla on January 30 and their nominations were submitted to the returning officer’s office by Sundar.
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 had 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.
Hoping for a favourable order from the Madras High Court, Dongre said his team will continue to be player-friendly after getting re-elected.
Queried on the contentious issue of readmitting banned players, Dongre said: “We will readmit into AICF fold the suspended/banned players — the subject of Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) order dated July 12, 2018 — without insisting on any apology from them.”
The rival camp led by Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan said that nominations of candidates belonging to their camp have also been rejected but it is not known whether their leader is approaching the court.
Kalifulla accepted five nominations as valid — all belonging to Raja’s rival camp.
The five nominations were that of Ajay H. Patel (contesting for President’s post), Chauhan (Secretary), Naresh Sharma (Treasurer), M. Arun Singh (Joint Secretary) and Vipnesh Bharadwaj (Vice President).