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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday, in accordance with a recent Supreme Court judgement, placed the management of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the hands of a Committee of Administrators (CoA) in order to enhance the “environment” of sporting bodies and structurally reorganise them.
The Indian Olympic Association and any other National Sports Federations (NSFs) must not be recognised or given any facilities by the Centre, according to the court’s directive. This is true even if they agree to follow the Sports Code.
“..the legal regime apropos sports administration in India has to be implemented fully and effectively. Compliance with the Sports Code is non-negotiable,” a division bench of Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Manmohan stated in an order.
In accordance with the court’s judgement, the former Supreme Court Justice Anil R. Dave, the former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, and the former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup will now oversee the administration of IOA on a daily basis.
Justice Anil R. Dave and Dr. S.Y. Quraishi are already employed by the All India Football Federation as members of the CoA, which was appointed by the Supreme Court (AIFF).
Olympic medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra of Uttarakhand, former long-jumper Anju Bobby George of Kerala, and archer Bombayla Devi Laishram are among the athletes under consideration as consultants (from Manipur).
Coming down heavily on the mismanagement of the sports bodies by few individuals, the court said, “.. those who mismanage the sports bodies and those who have converted the sports bodies into their personal fiefdoms, dare the Government / Authorities and Courts that if they try to democratize the sport association and remove the mis-management, the country would suffer derecognisation and the Indian sportsmen would not be able to participate under the country’s flag in the immediate future.”
The court noted that “..electoral colleges of most of the sports bodies are controlled by a few individuals where genuine sportsmen find it difficult to get elected and play an important role in management. Most of the sports bodies are split down the middle. Even the Electoral College/ list of authorised representatives to attend and vote at the General Body meeting of the IOA is seriously disputed.”
The 72-page judgement stated that the CoA would be free to make all necessary arrangements for the governance of the IOA until new elections are held in accordance with a constitution that adheres to the Sports Code and as described above.
All NSFs that adhere to the Sports Code and represent Olympic sports are immediately eligible for IOA membership when the necessary procedures have been followed. Accordingly, the Indian Golf Union’s appeal for full voting rights and inclusion in the electoral college shall be so reviewed by the IOA within four weeks, as per the ruling.
” If a sports federation does not comply with the law of the land, it will receive no recognition from the Government. All benefits and facilities to it will stop promptly. It is better that a legitimate body represents the cause of sportspersons than one simply masquerading as the real champion of Indian sports. Fairness and legitimacy needs to imbue all public affairs. Recalcitrant entities which defy adherence to rules of the game, while continuing to unjustly enjoy government?s largesse and patronage, must be called-out,” the order said.
“Governmental monitoring of compliance is expected to be prompt, robust and meticulous at all times,” it stressed.
(Inputs from IANS)