Supreme Court, Manipur
On August 1, the top court said there was a complete breakdown of law and order and constitutional machinery in Manipur | File photo

SC orders status quo, says Olympic body won't be handed over to CoA

The Supreme Court on Thursday (August 18) ordered to maintain status quo and restrained a Committee of Administrators (CoA), appointed by the Delhi High Court, from taking over the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the IOA, that the world sports 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 took note of the submissions of the law officer that the order may have negative repercussions on the nation and granted the interim relief ordering status quo into the affairs of the IOA.

Also read: Explained: Why FIFA banned AIFF and what it means to Indian football

“IOA submits that there is every possibility of losing the opportunity of participating in Olympic Games and other international events. In view of the urgency expressed, we ask the parties to maintain the status quo. It is made clear that charge won’t be handed over to the CoA,” the bench said.

Mehta said CoA taking over IOA would be considered “third-party influence” by the international bodies.

“CoA is a non-elected body and hence, it is treated by the international bodies as a third-party influence. We are bound by their rules. The moment they (CoA) take over, there is a 99% chance of India getting disqualified from any Olympic-related events,” Mehta said.

Consequently, the Delhi High Court-appointed CoA, comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi, and former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup, will not be able to take over IOA.

The Supreme Court has now posted the appeal of IOA for further hearing on August 22.

In May, Narinder Batra was removed as IOA President after the Delhi High Court struck down the position of ‘Life Member’ in Hockey India (HI), courtesy which he had contested and won the apex body elections back in 2017. IOA senior vice president Anil Khanna took over as acting chief.

Also read: Batra resigns as FIH president, gives up IOC membership

Earlier in the day, the solicitor general sought urgent hearing and said the appointment of the CoA may lead to the Association’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as it happened in the case of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) recently.

The Delhi High Court on August 16 had ordered the setting up of a three-member CoA to manage the affairs of the IOA.

The high court had 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.

Recently, the AIFF was suspended by FIFA over the influence of “third parties”. The ban came after the Supreme Court appointed a three-member CoA to run the AIFF.

Also read: CBI orders inquiry against IOA president Narinder Batra

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” FIFA said.

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