Chennai, Feb 18 (IANS) The Madras High Court on Tuesday set aside the election of five office bearers of the All India Chess Federation (AICF) and asked the Returning Officer to convene a Special General Body Meeting to conduct fresh elections.

“The court has said the Returning Officer has to conduct fresh elections for AICF. Now a fresh notice for elections has to be issued and other procedures undertaken. A General Body meeting has to be called again,” Kishor M Bandekar whose nomination was rejected earlier told IANS.

“We have asked the AICF Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan to correct the Federation”s website as to the names of its office bearers,” Bandekar added.

“We will appeal in the Supreme Court against the Madras High Court”s decision. As regards correcting the office bearers names we first have to get the certified order of the Court,” Chauhan told IANS.

“After the conclusion of the election process, the election of a person can be challenged only by a separate election petition and not with a petition seeking clarification. We will move the apex court today (Tuesday),” apex court advocate Sanjay K. Chadha representing Chauhan told IANS.

The Madras High Court gave its decision on the petition filed by the side led by P.R.Venketrama Raja against the rejection of their nomination papers filed for the polls for the association”s officer-bearers by the Returning Officer, former Supreme Court judge, Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

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 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 the 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.

Later Kalifulla declared five persons who had filed their papers in person – Ajay H. Patel for President, Bharat Singh Chauhan for Secretary, Naresh Sharma for Treasurer, M. Arun Singh for Joint Secretary and Vipnesh Bharadwaj for Vice President – as elected unopposed to various posts for the period 2020-2023.

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