After the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered fresh elections for Archery Association of India (AAI) within four weeks, AAI President BVP Rao resigned.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi said: “The election for constituting the new elected body be completed by a committee appointed by this court within four weeks from today and the election process must be conducted strictly in accordance with the constitution as amended in terms of order dated December 4, 2017.”
The court has set aside the constitution of the national body of the sport amended by S.Y. Quraishi, a Delhi High Court-appointed administrator. As a result of the judgement, the AAI would have to set up a fresh administrative system. It is crucial as the World Championship begins from June 10.
The court noted that the Constitution for AAI came to be notified for the first time on October 4, 2018, through email to the members state associations along with a notice for election for the office-bearers of AAI to be conducted by the administrator on December 22, 2018.
Disapproving this format of amendments in the administration, the court noted that the parties, stakeholders in AAI, will have to be relegated to the position as on December 4, 2017. “Consequent to incorporation of the four amendments approved in terms of the same order (December 4), the election will have to be conducted to constitute the new body. This is to bring it in line with the National Sports Code, after giving an opportunity to all concerned,” said the court
The Union of India has also raised objections to the Administrator’s Constitution of AAI, saying it was in violation of the Sports Code. Even the Indian Olympic Association moved the court on February 8, 2019, objecting to the Administrator’s Constitution being in violation of the Sports Code and the Constitution of the World Archery.
The court observed: “Another application has been filed by Kerala State Archery Association on February 18, 2019 for directions to declare that the elections conducted by the Administrator on the basis of the Administrator’s Constitution is null and void and to appoint a new Returning Officer to hold fresh elections in consonance with the court-approved Constitution.”
In the AAI elections held on December 22, 2018, Rao was elected its president. The election was supervised by Quraishi. Finding fault in the election process, the court said: “The election process was concluded in accordance with the Administrator’s Constitution and not as per the amended Constitution in terms of the order of this Court dated December 4, 2017. As a result, the representatives of the appellant Association(s) could not contest the election due to the restrictions prescribed in the Administrator’s Constitution.”
This election was not recognized by World Archery, as the General Assembly of the AAI did not approve the constitution. The AAI election is yet to get recognized by the Sports Ministry and the Indian Olympic Association.
“The grievance of the appellant(Maharashtra Archery Association) is that the Administrator had carried out amendments beyond what was permitted and approved by this court in terms of the order dated December 4, 2017, that too without any discussion with the members and stakeholders,” observed the court.
Issuing directions for the new elected body, the court said: “The newly elected body, after taking over the office, shall move a proposal for further amendment of the Constitution to bring it in line with the National Sports Code and that process be taken to its logical end expeditiously.”