After Delhi High Court’s strong order, AICF plays safe

Chennai, Feb 24 (IANS): With the Delhi High Court’s strong order on February 22, 2024 in the Devbhoomi Chess Association versus All India Chess Federation (AICF), the latter seems to have decided to play it safe.

On February 23, hours before the closure time for submission of list of delegates who would be the electoral college in the March 10,2024 office bearer elections, AICF president Dr Sanjay Kapoor sent a mail to all state and union territory chess officials asking them to send the list “in consonance with the National Sports Development Code, 2011, and judgments or orders passed by the Hon’ble Courts from time to time including Judgment dated 16.08.2022 passed in WP (C) 195/2010.”

Interestingly, the Delhi High Court on February 23 hearing the case between Devbhoomi Chess Association versus AICF had ordered: “UOI (Union of India/Government of India) has not filed any reply/affidavit in terms of the directions contained in para-6 of the order dated 14.02.2024.”

“Last opportunity is granted to file the same on or before 28.02.2024, failing which the concerned Joint Secretary shall remain personally present in court on the next date of hearing,” the High Court ordered.

The Court also told the Indian government that its reply/affidavit to be filed must address, in addition to other relevant aspects, the following;

“(i) Whether or not the constitution of the respondent no.1 (AICF) is in compliance with the National Sports Federation of India and the judgment dated 16.08.2022 in W.P. (C)195/2010 particularly keeping in mind the prescription in the constitution of the respondent no.1 (AICF) regarding the strength of the Executive Council (EC) and the number of office bearers (Article – 7(o), 13 and 16).

“(ii) The institutional mechanism put in place in compliance of the aforesaid judgement dated 16.8,2022, to ensure that whenever elections are held for electing EC (Executive Council) of National Sports Federations, including the Respondent No. 1 (AICF), 25% representation of sports person is ensured not only in the EC but also in the general body of the federation.

“(iii) The institutional mechanism put in place in compliance with the judgment dated 10.02.2023 in W.P.(C) 8915/2019, titled as K.P. Rao vs. Union of India & Ors, to ensure that the State Associations/ District Associations are in compliance with the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011, and the requirements prescribed in the aforesaid judgement dated 16.8.2022.”

The Court also ordered Devbhoomi Chess Association, the petitioner in the case to file an affidavit bringing out as to whether it is itself in compliance with the requirements of National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 and the judgment dated 16.08.2022, passed in W.P.(C) 195/2010.

“Let the same be at least 2 days before the next date of hearing,” the Court said.

On February 14, the Delhi High Court had directed the Centre to state in its reply/affidavit whether the AICF is in compliance with the directions contained in the judgment dated August 16, 2022 passed in W.P. (C)195/2010 read with the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011.

The AICF contends that it is compliant with the National Sports Development Code, 2011.

The AICF election process began on Feb 23 with its affiliated units sending the list of delegates who would be attending the general body meeting to be held on March 10 and voting in the elections.

As per the schedule announced on February 11 by AICF President Dr Sanjay Kapoor, the affiliated chess associations in the various states and Union Territories have to submit the names of two delegates by 3 pm on February 23.

The list of delegate names will be available on the AICF official website on February 24 and communicated via email to the two Returning Officers.

The Delhi High Court, by an order dated December 6, 2023, had appointed Justice GS Sistani (retd) as the second Returning Officer and fixed a fee of Rs 5,00,000. It had also ordered that the AICF elections should be held in Delhi, and not in Kanpur where Kapoor lives.

In November 2023, Kapoor appointed Allahabad High Court's retired Justice Rang Nath Pandey as the Returning Officer at a fee of Rs 16,00,000.

But suspense on the holding of elections in AICF will continue till it is over as the Delhi High Court had recently stayed the elections for the Volleyball Federation of India just a day before the polls were to be held.

Be that as it may, it will be interesting what the Indian government is going to submit to the Delhi High Court as to the status of AICF.



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Title: After Delhi High Court’s strong order, AICF plays safe

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