Delhi HC to hear plea on delayed IOA elections

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Delhi HC to hear plea on delayed IOA elections
© Provided by Hindustan Times IOA president Narinder Batra (HT_PRINT)

A division bench of the Delhi High Court will hear the case related to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections on Thursday, two weeks after objections were raised to its president Narinder Batra making unilateral appointments including that of chefs de mission and deputy chefs de mission for this year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

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The elections to IOA’s executive committee were originally scheduled for December 19, but following a plea by sports lawyer and activist Rahul Mehra on November 30, a bench of Justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri granted stay in an interim order.

Mehra had urged IOA to amend its constitution as per the National Sports Code (NSC), 2011.

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“It is going to be a big day (in the court). We hope the honourable court sets a date of elections soon so that we may resume our operations properly. We are ready to comply with everything the court has to say,” IOA treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey said.

“The recommendations (given to IOA) will be tabled in court tomorrow. I will be able to discuss the nitty-gritty only after the court proceedings,” IOA general-secretary Mehta said.

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For more than a month, IOA has been run by an ad-hoc six-member committee since the term of its executive committee ended. On December 17, the Delhi HC directed IOA to shift its AGM from Guwahati to the national capital.

The AGM was conducted by court-appointed administrator Justice (retd.) Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, who was assisted by ex-bureaucrat Injeti Srinivas, former secretary-sports in the union ministry. The ad hoc committee, whose remit was to recommend constitutional amendments to comply with the National Sports Code, was formed in the AGM. Batra, Mehta, Pandey, senior vice-presidents Anil Khanna and RK Anand, and chairman of preparations committee, Lalit Bhanot, comprised the panel. It submitted its recommendations to Srinivas last week.

“I can say that all our recommendations are in accordance with the sports code and should be acceptable to the honourable court,” Pandey said without giving details.

‘Illegal appointments’

Earlier this month, Batra had appointed RK Anand as chef de mission for the Birmingham CWG. Bhupender Singh Bajwa, Wushu Association of India president, was named chef de mission for the Asian Games in China. Ajay Kumar Singhania (secretary-general, Badminton Association of India), Hariom Kaushik (executive board member, Netball Federation of India), Gurudatta Bhakta (secretary-general, Goa Olympic Association and EC member, Judo Federation of India) and Swapan Banerjee (president, Bengal Olympics Association and Hockey Bengal) were named deputy chefs de mission for Asian Games.

Prashant Kushwaha (secretary-general, Kayaking and Canoeing Association of India), Chiranjib Choudhary (secretary-general, Meghalaya Olympic Association and vice-president Table Tennis Federation of India), Rajesh Bhandari (secretary-general, Himachal Pradesh Olympics Association and vice-president, Boxing Federation of India) were named general team managers for the CWG.

Pandey and Mehta had claimed the appointments were made without consulting the working EC. The petitioner Mehra had termed them “illegal”.

In his defence, Batra had told HT: “I don’t see any legal hassles here. India was perhaps the only country that had not appointed a chef de mission or a deputy chef de mission till January 11. The meetings of various chefs de mission have already started and we can’t be sending office attendants or joint-secretaries to these meetings. It is embarrassing for the country. We should have made these appointments by October-November last year but due to the court case and the stay on elections, it got delayed.”

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