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Equestrian

Delhi HC appoints Ad-hoc committee to run Equestrian Federation of India

Delhi High Court has formed a new ad-hoc committee to run the day-to-day operations of the Equestrian Federation of India.

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By

Pritish Raj

Published: 24 May 2024 1:57 PM GMT

Delhi: The mess in the Equestrian Federation of India continues to grow more complex as the Delhi High Court appointed an ad-hoc administrative committee, led by its retired judge, to oversee affairs on Thursday.

The decision followed allegations of "impropriety" in the federation's functioning raised in a petition by the Rajasthan Equestrian Association.

The court stated that the ad-hoc administrative committee (AAC) would be chaired by former high court judge Justice Najmi Waziri, with former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi serving as observer/member, and advocate Rohini Musa as a member.

The Bridge has the possession of the court order by Justice Tara V Ganju. The order states, "A court does not interfere in the administration of a national sports federation but when there is "clear impropriety" and the administration is being carried on in an "arbitrary" or "perverse" manner, the situation cannot be ignored."

"Pending the conduct of elections, EFI cannot be left without any office bearers. This Court cannot in good conscience leave the functioning of the EFI solely in the hands of those office bearer(s) whose tenure has expired and who are acting in a capricious manner and violation of the directives of the court," said the court in an order passed on May 21.

"Accordingly, the interest of justice would be served if an ad-hoc Administrative Committee is appointed to supervise the administration of the Respondent No. 1/EFI," the court ordered.

The court said the committee shall take over charge of day-to-day administration and functioning of the EFI and the existing office bearers shall no longer be entitled to discharge any function but render all requisite assistance to the committee.

The AAC is authorized to make arrangements for the governance of the EFI and also submit a report within 10 days to nullify all the decisions taken by the EFI from September 29, 2023.

It also sought a status report from the AAC on the EFI's functioning within six weeks.

"There was a lot of mess in EFI. What happened last year during the Asian Games in selections and the elections fiasco was out of hands. The court order shall improve the conditions and a new body can come into power soon," an official related to the EFI, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Bridge.

The selection drama during the Asian Games ensued when two riders Gaurav Pundir and Chirag Khandal claimed that the selections were biased and efforts were made to prevent them from getting the qualification criteria.

The drama prompted the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) Athletes Commission to recommend to the National Olympic Committee’s Executive Committee (EC) the disbandment of the EFI and the formation of a transitory or ad-hoc committee.

EFI hasn’t held its elections since 2019, claiming that equestrian was a peculiar sport since it involved two athletes – a human and a horse – and had convinced the sports ministry to exempt it from complying with two clauses of the Sports Code.

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