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IOA forms 6-member committee to look into amendments to its constitution on Delhi HC directive

The IOA formed a 6-member committee to look into the amendments to be made to its constitution before holding elections


President Indian Olympic Association Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra (2nd from left) Secretary General Rajeev Mehta (4th from left) & President South Asian Athletics Dr. Lalit Bhanot (5th from left) at IOA AGM



Updated: 19 Dec 2021 4:32 PM GMT

The Indian Olympic Association on Sunday formed a six-member committee to look into the amendments to be made to its constitution before holding elections so as to align it with the National Sports Code. The committee will comprise IOA president Narinder Batra, secretary-general Rajeev Mehta, treasurer Anandeshwar Pandey, senior vice presidents Anil Khana and R K Anand, and Lalit Bhanot, who is a member of the committee that finalises India's contingent to multi-sports events.

The committee will take a decision on the amendments to be made by January 20. The Annual General Meeting of the IOA was conducted by Justice (retd.) Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, who was appointed by the Delhi High Court as administrator for the purpose, and assisted by former Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas. The IOA was to hold its elective AGM in Guwahati on Sunday but the Delhi HC had passed an interim order on November 30 to maintain status quo on an application by senior advocate Rahul Mehra. On Friday, the high court asked the IOA to shift the venue of the AGM to Delhi.

"The General House decided to form a six-member committee to look at what amendments need to be made in the IOA constitution before the elections are held," IOA Secretary General Mehta told PTI. "The committee will deliberate and propose which amendments are to be made. They will be vetted through Mr. Injeti Srinivas and submitted to the Delhi High Court," Mehta said. "The deadline for taking a decision on what amendments to be made is January 20. After the decision is taken by the committee on the amendments, the IOA GBM will amend the constitution before the elections are held." Mehta also said that the IOA will have to inform the Delhi HC about Sunday's decision of the AGM on the next hearing on December 23.

While passing the order to hold the AGM in Delhi, a special bench of justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri had instructed the IOA to videograph the whole proceedings of the meeting and report to it on the next hearing on Thursday. It had directed the IOA general body to "deliberate and vote" on "amendments to the constitution/articles of association of the IOA, as may be agreed and/or requisite in terms of the National Sports Code, the IOC Charter and orders of this court and the Supreme Court."

The Delhi HC had also directed the IOA to consider 13 amendments submitted by the petitioner, including the restrictive provision which requires the candidates for president and secretary general's post to have held the same office earlier or be elected members in any of the five preceding executive councils. Other amendments proposed by the petitioner include application of age and tenure rule to all the members of the executive committee, not allowing voting to the state olympic associations, extending ban on charge-framed persons for crimes punishable for more than two years from contesting elections to all the IOA members and making 25 per cent of general assembly and Executive Council from among prominent sportspersons with voting rights.

Mehra had claimed that the IOA was proposing to hold its elections in violation of the orders of the court, the law of the land, the National Sports Development Code of India, and various other directives. Mehra had sought directions to refrain the Centre from acting arbitrarily or indulging in action in abject violation and desertion of its duties. Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee had advised the IOA to reschedule its December 19 elections in view of a pending case in the Delhi HC but urged the body to go ahead with its General Assembly on the same date. In a letter to IOA president Batra, the IOC had said the elections should nonetheless take place before the end of January next year after requisite amendments in the IOA constitution.

But it is unlikely now that the elections are held before February as prior notice will have to be given to the members if the IOA has to go ahead with the amendments to its constitution. Moreover, the amendments will have to get approval from the IOC, which normally is averse to interference from the government.

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