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EFI set to hold its first-ever elections in compliance with Sports Code

The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) is gearing up for its first-ever elections in compliance with the National Sports Code, three months after getting the renewal of its recognition as an NSF.

Fouaad Mirza with his horse Seigneur Medicott

Indian equestrian athlete Fouaad Mirza



Updated: 18 July 2022 9:20 AM GMT

The Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) is gearing up for its first ever elections in compliance with the National Sports Code, three months after getting renewal of its recognition as an NSF following drastic amendments in its constitution. The EFI has not held elections since 2019. It had a flawed system of tenure where elections were held for individual posts every year.

The Sports Code (3.18, annexure 2) dictates that a Federation must hold a General Body Meeting (GBM) at least once in a year and a special meeting should be convened over four years to elect the members of the Executive Body including the President, Secretary etc. This rule was not followed until now but EFI is committed to follow the Sports Code in letter and spirit.

Now, the strength of the Executive Committee has been reduced to 12 from earlier 21 to fall in line with the Sports Code. Earlier, EC members were getting elected at different times for a four-year tenure and once that was over, elections were held again to fill the vacant seat. Never ever the full EC was elected together. "We are committed to implementing the changes that are required as per the Sports Code. I got elected in 2019 as Secretary General and since then I am trying to bring about reforms," EFI Secretary General Colonel Jaiveer Singh told PTI.

"Don't ask me why EFI statues were not changed to fall in line with Sports Code earlier. You have to ask people who held positions before me. I am trying to do the needful, though, the process got delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic," Singh added.

Interestingly, the Rajasthan Equestrian Association (REA) has moved the Delhi High Court, asking it to restrain EFI from holding elections and appoint an ad-hoc committee to take over and manage the affairs of the Federation until it amends its Statutes. "I fail to understand why have they moved this application when we have already carried out the required changes.

The petitioner (Raghuvendra Singh Dunload) himself was present at the AGM on March 27 when the changes were made," Singh contended. Another petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court claiming that EFI did not follow the proper procedure at its AGM hence these amendments should be quashed aside. The EFI got the changes approved at its AGM on March 27 with a thumping backing of 111 members while only eight voted against them.

"Before presenting the changes at its AGM, we had followed a transparent process and discussed the changes at our Executive Committee on March 24," Singh said. The Sports Ministry had given EFI time till June 2022 to amend the constitution in line with the Sports Code. The EFI got its recognition renewed on April 5.

Changes made by EFI in its Statutes

As per the changes, a member club used to have two votes but now it has been reduced to one and voting rights of individual members have been abolished. The EFI also added the Sports Code provision (3.20 of annexure 2) that a minimum of 25 per cent of the Executive Committee ought to be prominent sports persons. The EFI has also added Sports Code provision (3.6 annexure 2) that from now onwards a person cannot hold office simultaneously in more than one NSF.

Other provisions, like prevention of age fraud and prevention of sexual harassment, have also been added apart from the appointment of CAG-approved Chartered Accountant for annual audit.

EC reduced to just three members

At present, EFI's EC strength has been reduced to just three. EFI says the perception is, that they have expelled the EC members but that is "not true". "Out of 19 EC members, many had completed their four-year terms like Brigadier Deep Ahlawat, Brigadier SS Kashyap, Col. Tarsem Singh, Col. C S Sohal, Dr, Siddharth Sharma, Col. PP Singh, Col. Jagat Singh and Col. Mangal Singh" said Singh.

"Continuation of advocate Sanjay Gupta, Col. Vikas Thakur and Lt Col. DP Nanda on the EC is no more in compliance with Statues since they came to EC as regional members and such appointments have been abolished so that we can limit the EC membership to 12 as per Sports Code.

"Three members have resigned and two have got shifted out of Delhi, so we have not sacked them. It's a misconception being spread," he added.

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