After India's victory in Olympiad, chess federation president's faction handed legal win

The Madras High Court in an interim order declared null and a void a special general body meeting convened online by the rival group on April 22

Published: 31st August 2020 08:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st August 2020 08:27 PM   |  A+A-

AICF president PR Venketrama Raja, Secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As the chess fraternity got busy celebrating India’s joint-first finish in the online Olympiad, the national federation was abuzz with something else.

In a victory of sorts for the All India Chess Federation (AICF) faction headed by president PR Venketrama Raja, the Madras High Court in an interim order declared null and a void a special general body meeting convened online by the rival group on April 22.

The meeting had taken drastic steps like suspending Raja, forming a five-member committee to run AICF, issuing show-cause notices to key functionaries of the Raja group and disaffiliating the state associations of Himachal, West Bengal, Andhra, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Two other associations were given affiliation in Maharashtra and Rajasthan, while ad-hoc committees were constituted in the other three states. The order dated August 28 overrules these decisions.

Although the ultimate winner will be known after elections, this is a setback for the faction led by secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan, who was removed from the post by Raja shortly before the online meeting.

Associations disaffiliated in that meeting are supporters of the Raja group. Staying that move means they remain on the electoral college, unless it is formed afresh. Elections are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Rules governing AICF prohibit online meetings for such purposes.

Describing developments as “... a tactical game of chess with two groups vying to checkmate the other”, the order passed by Justice PT Asha said, “It is clear that the calling of the meeting, conduct of the meeting and the resolutions adopted therein are totally contrary to the Bye-Laws and the Act”. It adds, “Therefore, there shall be an ad-interim injunction as prayed for until further orders.”

The court posted the matter for September 27 again for “counter of respondents”, in this case Chauhan and his group. The order says, “A very reading of the minutes dated 22.04.2020 would clearly indicate the active role that has been played by the 6th respondent in achieving his end.” Chauhan, the sixth respondent, said, “I will take legal opinion. This is not the final order anyway.”

RM Dongre, candidate for secretary from the Raja group, said, “News of the day for Indian chess is the triumph of our players in the Online Olympiad. It’s not the time to discuss anything else. If you insist, the online meeting was always a joke.”


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