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Rejection of nominations on "flimsy ground": Delhi High Court orders stay on BFI Election
The BFI Election, originally supposed to be held on February 18th, 2023, now stands postponed, following the order of a single judge of the Delhi High Court.
Judge Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav passed a stay order yesterday on the Returning Officer's (i.e. Election Officer) decision to reject the nominations of numerous contesting candidates as 'invalid' and subsequently declare the rest as "elected unopposed".
Returning Officer must discharge duty with "utmost fairness"
Comparing the nomination forms submitted by the 'invalidated' candidates with the prescribed form given in the Model Election Guidelines of the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011, the judge noted that except for the "structuring of the information", there is "substantial compliance" between the two forms.
The Court went on to observe that the nominations were rejected on "flimsy ground", and the rejections have prima facie been found to be invalid.
The Court took note of the fact that out of the 30 nominations submitted, 15 were rejected on a "singular" basis, effectively excluding "50% contestants" from standing for the elections.
The Court also highlighted that the Returning Officer (i.e. Election Officer) "has to discharge his duty with utmost fairness and in accordance with the high standards of neutrality."
BFI Election: What's Next?
The BFI Election, that was supposed to happen on February 18th, is now postponed.
The existing office bearers, whose terms would have expired on February 18th will continue to remain in power. However, they will be restrained from taking any policy decisions after February 18th except with the permission of the court.
The next date of hearing in the Delhi High Court has been listed for 1st March 2023.
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