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Delhi HC appoints committee to take over affairs of IOA

Delhi HC appoints committee to take over affairs of IOA
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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the setting up of a three-member Committee of Administrators (COA) to take over the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri said the persistent recalcitrance of the IOA to comply with the Sports Code made it imperative that its affairs be put in the hands of the COA comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi, and former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup.

The court directed the executive committee of IOA to forthwith hand over the charge to the newly appointed committee and said that the members of the CoA will be assisted by three eminent sportspersons, namely, Shooter Olympian Abhinav Bindra, Long Jump Olympian Anju Bobby George, and Archer Olympian Bombayla Devi Laishram.

The IOA is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the National Olympic Committee for India.

The court, which considered in detail the issues concerning the tenure of office bearers and voting rights, struck down the post of Life President and any such permanent post for an individual in the IOA for being illegal and said that the maximum term for the President and likewise to all Office Bearers and members of the EC has to be limited to 3 tenures as per the law.

It said that sportspersons, both men and women, should be included in the general and executive committees of the sports body.

There is every reason to acknowledge women's significant presence in the sporting world. Sports administration is not a male preserve. It is a matter of record that in all its 95 years of existence the IOA has never had a woman as its President or Secretary General. Surely women do aspire to be in significant positions in the decision-making process. Their presence both in the GB (general body), as well as the EC (executive committee) of the IOA, will lend to the fruition of their valid aspirations. Accordingly, women shall comprise half of the category of sportspersons with voting rights in the General Body as well as in the EC, the court said.

The court's order was passed on a petition by senior advocate Rahul Mehra seeking strict compliance by the IOA and the National Sports Federations with the Sports Code and judicial dicta.

The history of persistent recalcitrance of the IOA for almost half a century to comply with the Sports Code, despite its consistent assurance to the Government, the societal concerns, and the larger public good, make it imperative that the IOA's affairs be put in the hands of a Committee of Administrators (CoA) it said.

Accordingly, persons of eminence from the fields of law, public administration, elections, and international relations are appointed as members of the CoA, to be assisted by eminent sportspersons, as Consultants, the court ordered.

It directed the centre to not grant recognition or facilities to any sports bodies that do not comply with the sports code and further called for the implementation of structural reforms to remove the mismanagement in the sports bodies and to democratize these institutions.

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