High drama was witnessed in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) on Monday with a rebel group electing state Sports Minister Imran Ansari as the body's president in an attempt to end Farooq Abdullah's 35-year rein but the move was stayed by a Jammu court.
Shortly after 42 of the 64-member JKCA declared Ansari as the new president unopposed, claiming that Abdullah did not contest, a petition was moved by the former Chief Minister's faction in the court of sub-judge Amarjeet Singh Langey, who stayed the election results.
The court, in its order, said that there is a "prima facie case requiring indulgence of the this court in so far as staying the operation of notice" for convening Monday's meeting.
"Accordingly, operation of the notice dated July 9, 2015...is stayed till next date of hearing". The case will now come up on July 31."
Abdullah, who was re-elected as JKCA president for a three-year term in May 2014 extending his rein which began in 1980, dubbed Ansari's election as "illegal and unconstitutional", saying he still has nearly two years left in his tenure.
"The court has kept in abeyance the decisions of the working committee which met in Srinagar today," Abhinav Sharma, the lawyer representing Abdullah's faction, told PTI.
As a result, Abdullah will continue as the JKCA president and the new team will not take over till further orders, Sharma said.
Earlier, Ansari was elected unopposed by members during a working committee meeting of the JKCA which met at the association's headquarters in Srinagar.
The body also elected Mehboob Iqbal, retired bureaucrat, as chairman of the Association and Iqbal Shah as General Secretary.
Abdullah accused the PDP-BJP government of dividing JKCA and people of the state.
"This meeting is illegal. I was elected and the committee was elected a year ago. We have a three-year term and this (election) is against the constitution of the JKCA so it had no standing," Abdullah said.
"We have got a stay order against it. We are going to fight them. This is the tragedy with this government. Mufti Sahib's government wants to create problems. It has already created division between Jammu and Kashmir and is creating division in JKCA," he said.
In his four-page order, the judge said that in terms of relevant rules, it is only the General Secretary of the association who can convene any meeting of the working committee which is required to be presided over by the president of the Association and in his absence, normally the chairman of the association.
Abdullah said there is no possibility of fresh elections. Any state association election has to be monitored by a BCCI observer, a norm which was not followed in the meeting.
"It cannot be possible...there is no possibility of all these things (fresh elections). What is the need for it? Farooq Abdullah wants accounts. I am telling them that we are not going to release money to you till you give us the accounts. After all we have to also put those accounts before the people.
"We have seen what has happened earlier when scam took place. The president did not know anything about it till it was exposed to me. That is why some of them (members) are on that side because they just want to usurp the money. That is the whole story, there is nothing else," he said.
He said as per the rules of JKCA, elections are held in a working committee which is presided over by the president and for which notification is to be issued by the elected General Secretary.
"There is a very clear and explicit judgement of Hon'ble Justice B A Kirmani dated July, 2, 2007 that Working Committee meeting of JKCA are necessarily to be presided over by the President and its notification is to be issued by the General Secretary and nobody else. There is no provision in JKCA rules for premature election or any no-confidence motion," he said.
Abdullah accused the Mufti government of supporting the rival faction but said he will not allow it to succeed.
"They think Farooq Abdullah is so easy to be dismantled. I want to tell them that Farooq Abdullah is here, alive and will fight them to the death," he said.
Ansari defended the elections saying the majority of the working committee members are with him.
"This was an open election and the observers as well as the media were there. The majority supported my candidature and elected me president," Ansari said.
Ansari claimed that the term of the previous body had expired and that it had become imperative to hold fresh elections.
"As per the constitution of the JKCA, elections are to be held every year. There is no provision for a three-year term for the body. It has nothing to do with politics," he said.
The judge said, "In case meeting of Working Committee is held pursuant to said notice before communication of this order to non-applicants, in that eventuality decision if any taken in said meeting shall also be kept in abeyance in light of the perspective given herein above and having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case at hand". he said.
The order was on a plea by Chairman of JKCA, Arvinder Singh Micky against Rakesh Kumar, vice-chairman, JKCA (Jammu wing).
"Vice-Chairman cannot issue notice for the meeting. It can be issued by general secretary. He has illegally issued the notice," Himanshu said.
Image: Farooq Abdullah