20 Sep 2022 4:18 AM GMT
In a plea challenging order of the Delhi High Court directing to handover affairs of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to a Committee of Administrators (CoA), the Supreme Court, on Monday, asked the Union Ministry Youth Affairs and Sports to discuss with the Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, International Olympic Committee and revert to the Apex Court, primarily, on...
In a plea challenging order of the Delhi High Court directing to handover affairs of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to a Committee of Administrators (CoA), the Supreme Court, on Monday, asked the Union Ministry Youth Affairs and Sports to discuss with the Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, International Olympic Committee and revert to the Apex Court, primarily, on the issue of appointing a neutral person to run the day-to-day administration of the IOA.
Appearing before a Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, the Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta had submitted that much like FIFA, that had objected to the CoA governing the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF, the International Olympic Committee has communicated that it does not recognise an acting/interim president of IOA. He apprised the Bench about a communication received from the Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations, International Olympic Committee (IOC) which contemplates that if the National Olympic Committee (NOC) does not fulfil the conditions of the Olympic charter - resolve its governance issues and hold elections, it would mean that the athletes of India would not be able to represent the country and compete under the country' flag at Olympic games and other international sporting events. Moreover, NOC would not receive any funding from the Olympic movement until suspension is lifted. It was also stated by the Solicitor General, that the IOC had decided to treat the Secretary General of the IOA as the main point of contact.
Referring to the said communication, the Solicitor General stated that the IOC has proposed a joint meeting on 27th Sept 2022 in Lausanne.
IOC session due to take place in Mumbai in May, 2023 is postponed to Sep-Oct, 2023. Depending on the decision taken during the IOC executive board meeting in December, 2022 relating to NOC, IOC executive board will decide whether IOC session 2023 should be maintained in India or relocated.
Considering the fact that the IOC does not recognise any interim or acting president of NOC, Mr. Mehta suggested that the Secretary General of the IOC can be put in charge of the day-to-day administration. However, for the purpose of amending the constitution of IOA, preparing electoral rolls and to hold elections, he suggested, a retired judge of the Apex Court may be appointed. He urged the Bench to ensure that the changes are brought about before the IOC executive board meeting in December, 2022.
The Bench indicated that it was willing to appoint a neutral person to run the day-to-day affairs of IOA, while bestowing the responsibility of amending the Constitution and conducting election on a retired judge of the Apex Court. It asked the Union Ministry to interact with the IOC in this regard, so that it can pass directions on the next date of hearing.
The matter will be next heard on 22nd September, 2022.
On the last date of hearing while issuing notice the Apex Court had extended the status quo order on the CoA take over.
On August 18, a bench led by the Chief Justice of India had passed the status quo order after being told that the CoA was yet to take over. However, the CJI-led bench had not issued notice, as the matter was only orally mentioned by the Solicitor General of India.
The issue arose when a 2010 petition was filed by Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra seeking the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association as per the elections held in accordance with the National Sports Code. In this context, a division bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising of Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Manmohan, noting that the IOA committee was not continuing as per the National Sports Code, passed an order on August 16, 2022, stating that if a sports federation did not comply with the law of the land, it would receive no recognition from the Government and the benefits and facilities to it would stop promptly. Accordingly, the affairs of IOA were put in the hands of a Committee of Administrators (CoA).
In the last hearing on the matter, the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Government, stated that the appointment of CoA was seen as outside interference and thus, could lead to the suspension of IOA, in a manner similar to the suspension of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) by the FIFA. It may be noted that recently, the FIFA had suspended the AIFF citing the Supreme Court's order constituting a CoA to take over its affairs as an "undue influence from third parties". Accordingly, the Supreme Court had, just today, passed a direction to terminate the mandate of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to manage the affairs of the AIFF. In this context, the Supreme Court's bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justice CT Ravikumar had ordered status quo with respect to the Delhi High Court's order.
CASE TITLE: INDIAN OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS. | DIARY NO. 25767/2022
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