The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday “welcomed” the interim relief granted to it by the Supreme Court, saying it will continue to challenge the “contentious” clauses of the National Sports Code, primarily related to “tenure guidelines” for officials and voting rights” of state bodies.
Ordering status quo, the SC on Thursday said the Delhi High Court-appointed three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) will not take over the affairs of IOA.
The SC took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the IOA, that the IOC (world body) does not recognise any un-elected bodies like the CoA and consequently, India may be barred from taking part in international sports events. The Apex court has posted IOAs appeal for further hearing on August 22.
“It is a welcome order by the Honble Supreme Court. The IOA and the government jointly approached SC. We had the full support of the government. We are happy that the Court took into consideration our submission,” IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta told PTI.
According to the draft National Sports Code 2017, the age and tenure restrictions will be applicable to all officials and not just the president, secretary and treasurer of the nations sports bodies. While the tenure of an official can be a maximum of three terms, 12 years to be precise, including a cool-off period, the upper limit of age is kept at 70 years.
But as per the current IOA Constitution, an official can hold his or her office for 20 years without any cooling-off period. The IOA said it will continue to oppose these “contentious” guidelines.
“Our main objection is on tenure guidelines. The Sports Code has already reduced the tenure of a sports administrator from 20 years to 12 years. After two terms of four years each, an official has to go for a cooling off period, we cant accept this,” Mehta said.
“The Sports Code also took away the voting rights of state associations and non-Olympic sports federations, which is not fair. We want the Honble Supreme Court to rectify the erroneous guidelines of the Code. We can only appeal, rest depends on the Court. We just hope a favourable order comes on August 22,” Mehta added.
The Delhi High Court had on August 16 ordered the setting up of a three-member CoA to manage the affairs of the IOA.
The high court said the “persistent recalcitrance” of the IOA to comply with the Sports Code made it imperative that its affairs be put in the hands of the CoA, comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi, and former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup.
The high court had directed that the executive committee of IOA to forthwith hand over the charge to the newly-appointed CoA and said that the three-member panel will be assisted by eminent sportspersons, namely, Olympic medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, former long jumper Anju Bobby George, and archer Bombayla Devi Laishram.
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