The sports ministry has headed towards the Supreme Court objecting to the Archery Association of India (AAI) election. They have further submitted a plea to strike off amendments made to its constitution, which restrict public servants from holding office in a National Sports Federation (NSF).
The government’s move comes a month after former Indian Administrative Service and United Nations officer BV Papa Rao was elected as AAI president in polls held under the supervision of former chief election commissioner of India, SY Quraishi.
However, the elections met with quite a few contrasting responses. It was objected by the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association (IOA). It is learnt that the ministry does not only want the constitution to be re-drafted, but also wants AAI to conduct fresh elections.
In its application submitted in the previous week, the ministry has urged Supreme Court to “direct the administrator (Quraishi) to relook at the revised constitution of AAI and revise it to ensure that it is strictly in accordance with the Code (NSDCI, 2011) and thereafter conduct fresh elections as per the revised constitution.”
“As per the provisions of NSDCI, 2011, there is no restriction on Public Servants to be member(s) or Officer Bearer(s) of any NSF/IOA, which work in autonomous environments. Accordingly, this clause is imposing an additional restriction,” the ministry wrote in its application. Interestingly, the sports ministry had reportedly included these points in the revised draft of the sports code, which was submitted to the Delhi High Court more than a year ago. The revised sports code was drafted last year by a nine-member panel that included the likes of Anju Bobby George and Abhinav Bindra. Among other things, it recommended that ministers in central and state governments should be disqualified from holding positions in sports federations. The sports ministry has withdrawn that draft from the Delhi High Court, insisting they wanted to ‘invite comments of all stakeholders.’
“The Supreme Court had said public servants should not be holding any office and now the sports ministry under a sports minister who is an Olympic medalist himself has a different take than the one he had earlier. I am expecting good sense will prevail over the ministry. There is a precedent in this case – the BCCI judgement by Justice Thakur," advocate Rahul Mehra -- one of the respondents of the case -- stated.
The case is likely to be heard by mid February.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega