‘Nation’s pride comes first’, SC allows AICF secretary to continue till August 15 (Ld)

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Bharat Singh Chauhan, secretary All India Chess Federation (AICF), to continue till August 15, in view of the Chess Olympiad scheduled between July and August.

A vacation bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose said, “The nation and the nation’s pride come first…”.

The Bench, in an interim arrangement, allowed Chauhan to continue acting as secretary AICF, till August 15.

India is hosting the 44th Chess Olympiad, which will be held from July 28 to August 10. The Delhi High Court had restrained Chauhan from action as an office-bearer.

Chauhan moved the top court challenging the high court restraining him from acting as the secretary of the AICF till further orders.

After hearing arguments in the matter, the top court said, “Let the Union of India and appellant file detailed affidavits before the division bench of the Delhi High Court… within four weeks from today.”

Senior advocate Maninder Singh submitted that the principle of natural justice was not followed, as Chauhan did not get an opportunity to present his case.

The bench noted that the country is holding the prestigious Chess Olympiad in the country from July 28 to August 10, 2022, and this event should not be affected further in any manner. The bench, however, clarified that this order would be without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties litigating before the high court.

The top court said the high court will pass a fresh order after giving opportunities to all concerned within four weeks.

In an interim order, which came on a plea of defeated candidate Ravindra Dongre, the high court had injuncted Chauhan from acting as the secretary of the AICF.

Allegations involving electoral malpractice and violation of the National Sports Code, among others, were levelled against Chauhan. In the AICF polls, Dongre allegedly lost to Chauhan.

It was claimed that Chauhan has been in the position of power for more than 17 years. However the code does not allow office-bearers from holding office for more than eight years.

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