The All India Chess Federation (AICF) will soon have a new secretary with the Delhi High Court on Thursday unseating the incumbent Bharat Singh Chauhan from that post, said a top official.
But who will that person be is the big question — whether RN Dongre who had contested the AICF elections last year or any other person appointed by the federation president.
“I will appoint a new secretary. I am holding discussions. The appointment will be as per law. The court has not said Dongre should be appointed as the secretary,” Dr. Sanjay Kapoor, president, AICF told IANS.
As per 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, Dongre told IANS, “I am exploring (my) options. As the only remaining contestant for the secretary 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 High Court held.
The Court said: “That being the position, the court is of the view that R-3 (respondent three Chauhan) cannot be recognized 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 IANS that his client can make a claim for the secretary’s post as per the reading of the court order.
“In 1985 elections in AICF, late 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,” International Master Atanu Lahiri told IANS.
Lahiri said that Dongre was the only contestant for the secretary’s post in the elections held last year.
“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 reelection,” Dongre said.
With AICF organising the 44th Chess Olympiad near here, the post of secretary cannot be left vacant for long.(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)