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AICF names Vipnesh Bhardwaj Interim Secretary, question on validity remains (Lead)

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By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, June 3 (Ajit Weekly News) The All India Chess Federation (AICF) on Friday got Vipnesh Bhardwaj as its interim Secretary as the Delhi High Court on Thursday unseated Bharat Singh Chauhan from that post.

However, experienced chess officials are of the view that this appointment too is not in line with law.

AICF President, Dr Sanjay Kapoor, using his powerss has appointed Bhardwaj, the AICF Vice President, as interim Secretary.

In a communication to all the AICF members, Kapoor said owing to the court’s interim order, the office of Secretary has fallen vacant, and as the AICF is holding the 44th Chess Olympiad in couple of months time, an interim Secretary has to be appointed till the next General Body is conducted.

As per the AICF’s by-laws, the vacancies of office-bearers that may arise by resignation, death or otherwise shall be filled by the President and such nominated person shall hold the office till the next General Body Meeting.

On the other hand, R. N. Dongre who had filed a case against Chauhan’s election told Ajit Weekly News that: “I am exploring (my) options. As the only remaining contestant for the Secretary’s post, I should be the new Secretary as per the National Sports Code.”

Dongre, who had contested against Chauhan for the Secretary’s post last year, had filed the case challenging the latter’s election in violation of the National Sports Development Code.

Chauhan stood for re-election and as per the National Sports Development Code, an office bearer for second successive tenure should secure a majority of not less than two-third of the votes polled.

In case of default, the candidate would be deemed to have lost the elections and the position would thereafter be filled by normal procedure from amongst candidates other than the office-bearer seeking re-election.

“What is not permissible in law has been spelt out. No recognition can be granted to a person as an office-bearer, who has not been elected in terms of the said Circular/Letter,” the Delhi High Court held.

“That being the position, the court is of the view that R-3 (respondent three Chauhan) cannot be recognised as or continue as Secretary of R-2 (respondent two AICF).

“Insofar as R-3 has assisted the NSF (R-2), virtually at the helm of affairs for the past 17 years, his assistance and administrative contribution to the NSF (National Sports Federation-AICF) and to the cause of Chess may be graciously acknowledged by R-2,” the court said.

Meanwhile, Manish Kaushik, the advocate for Dongre, told Ajit Weekly News that his client can make a claim for the Secretary’s post as per the reading of the court order.

Adding to this, International Master Atanu Lahiri told Ajit Weekly News: “In 1985 AICF elections, B. Varma, President contested for re-election. He was opposed by industrialist, the late N. Mahalingam. While Varma got more votes, he could not muster a two-third majority. Then Mahalingam, the only contestant, became the President.”

He said that Dongre was the only contestant for the Secretary’s post in the elections held last year.

Dongre said: “In 1985 two factions fought the elections. As Varma did not secure two-third majority, he went out. And as there was no other contestant for the President post other than Mahalingam, he assumed charge as the head of AICF. Had there been more than two contestants then there would have been a re-election.”

Similar views was expressed to Ajit Weekly News by a former AICF official preferring anonymity.

According to him, there is a precedent and the current situation is identical to that and the AICF President should retract his order and escape another embarrassment in the Court.

With the AICF organising the 44th Chess Olympiad near here, the post of Secretary cannot be left vacant for long.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News
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