12 Nov 2017 8:51 AM GMT
Even before the Delhi High Court's order quashing the election of office-bearers of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF), including its president Praful Patel, could come into operation; it has been stayed by the Supreme Court which has now appointed former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and former Indian football team captain Bhaskar Ganguly as a committee of administrators...
Even before the Delhi High Court's order quashing the election of office-bearers of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF), including its president Praful Patel, could come into operation; it has been stayed by the Supreme Court which has now appointed former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi and former Indian football team captain Bhaskar Ganguly as a committee of administrators to bring the AIFF constitution in sync with the National Sports Code.
The apex court said the administrators should prepare a draft of the AIFF constitution and be assisted by the office-bearers while keeping in mind that its reputation is not undermined in FIFA.
The Supreme Court stayed the order dated October 31, 2017, passed by the Delhi High Court vide which the result of elections of the sports body announced on December 21, 2016, were declared illegal.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud stayed the Delhi High Court order with special emphasis on its directions like re-elections after amending the constitution and appointing Quraishi as the administrator-cum-returning officers.
The apex court passed the order on an appeal filed by AIFF.
AIFF was represented by senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Amarendra Sharan along with advocate Premtosh and a team from Karanjawala & Co led by its partner Debmalya Banerjee.
Singhvi contended before the apex court that the election of the AIFF held was legal and in conformity of the AIFF constitution.
He also argued that the constitution of AIFF is in conformity with the FIFA statute and that if the AIFF executive committee is removed and an administrator is given control, AIFF may face suspension from FIFA, which will make it ineligible to bid for the U-20 FIFA World Cup 2019.
Rahul Mehra, on whose petition the Delhi High Court verdict had been delivered, opposed Singhvi's contentions while reiterating that AIFF elections were illegal for non-compliance with the sports code.
After hearing the arguments, the bench said, "Considering the rival submissions, we are inclined to stay the operation of the impugned judgment and, in particular, the directions given by the High Court in paragraph 22 of the impugned judgment.”
In paragraph 22 of its judgment, the high court has set aside the result of elections and ordered a new electoral college and nominations by member associations for fresh elections while barring AIFF from making any financial decisions before re-elections.
The apex court went on to issue the following interim directions:
(i) SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, who has also served as Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India, and Bhaskar Ganguly, former Indian captain and international football player, 38, Nalta Mahajoti Road, Kolkata, 700028, are appointed as the committee of administrators (ombudsmen) for formulation of constitution of the federation which will be in consonance with the National Sports Code and the model guidelines for the conduct of its business, constitution of the executive committee and elections thereto, whilst ensuring that the status and membership of petitioner federation is not undermined in any manner in the international body.
They shall prepare the draft constitution and submit the same within eight weeks along with their report, in a sealed cover before this court.
(ii) While formulating the proposed constitution, the committee of administrators (ombudsmen) may take into account the suggestions given by respondent No 1 (Mehra), if any.
(iii) After the report of the committee of administrators, along with the proposed constitution, becomes available, further directions as may be necessary can be issued.
Meanwhile, AIFF assured the court that its current elected body was committed to extend its full cooperation to the committee of administrators for formulation of the proposed constitution of the federation which will be compliant in all respects and which the apex court said, would ensure transparency, accountability and observance of democratic values in the conduct of the business of the federation.
Read the Order Here