SC directs its orders on adoption of new constitution, polling for IOA executive be scrupulously followed
The Supreme Court directed that its orders of October 10 and November 3 on adoption of a new constitution and polling for electing an executive committee of IOA.
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, directed that its orders of October 10 and November 3 on adoption of a new constitution and polling for electing an executive committee of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) shall be scrupulously followed.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala recorded the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that the IOA constitution, as drafted by Justice (retd) LN Rao, has been adopted at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Indian olympic body and any amendments to it will be done only with the express permission of the court.
The top court then disposed of the contempt plea moved by petitioner Rahul Mehra alleging violation of the directions of the apex court on October 10 and November 3 with regard to adoption of the draft constitution and polling for the IOA executive committee to be held on December 10.
Mehra claimed the draft constitution was adopted at the IOA AGM on November 10 but the minutes of the meeting showed there were some variations, which were also adopted.
Mehta placed on record a copy of the letter of Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which said the constitution, as drafted by Justice LN Rao, "has been adopted by the IOA and any suggestions and alterations will only be adopted by the express provisions of the court".
Mehra claimed just before the AGM, a letter was written to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by the members of the IOA with regard to the amendments but the top global Olympics body has not responded till now.
"They have not responded but they may respond during the interregnum period before December 10 polls," he said.
Mehta said the court may record his statement that if any amendment is sought to be done to IOA constitution, it will be done only with the express permission of the court. Mehra, at the outset, read the October 10 order which said, "We would appreciate if the suggested timelines are duly facilitated. Once the new Constitution has been duly adopted and concurred with by IOC, the new Constitution shall be adopted by the IOA-General Body under a mandatory direction of this Court".
He insisted despite the direction of the court there was some variation in the constitution adopted at the AGM and the one drafted by Justice Rao which was evident from the minutes of the meeting. On November 3, the top court had approved a fresh timeline submitted by the Justice L N Rao committee for the election of the IOA executive panel to be held on December 10.
The top court had also allowed circulation of the draft amended constitution among members of the IOA so it could be adopted at the general body meeting on November 10. The SC had noted that the judge had interacted with all stakeholders, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOA and its state associations.
On October 10, the top court had approved the timeline for amendment of the draft constitution of the IOA and its elections, as agreed to in the meeting with the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 27. It had then approved holding the IOA executive committee polls on December 3, as a meeting of the IOC executive board was scheduled for December 5.
On September 22, in a bid to ensure a fair and development-oriented approach for the future of Olympics in India, the top court had appointed Justice Rao for amending the IOA constitution and preparing its electoral college.
All these came after the IOC on September 8 issued a "final warning" to the IOA to resolve its governance issues and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.
The executive board of the IOC, which met in Lausanne, had also decided not to recognise any "acting/interim president" after Narinder Batra's ouster as Indian Olympic Association chief, and said it would deal with secretary general Rajeev Mehta as the main point of contact.
In May this year, Batra was removed as IOA chief after the Delhi High Court struck down the post of 'life member' in Hockey India through which he had contested and won the apex body elections in 2017. Batra later officially resigned as IOA president.
The IOC had also earlier threatened to suspend the IOA if it failed to conduct its election at the earliest. The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held due to amendments in the poll process.
Last December, the IOA formed a six-member committee to look at the amendments to be made to its constitution before holding elections to align it with the National Sports Code.