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AIFF: Supreme Court Adds Former SC Judge To Committee Of Administrators Of All India Football Federation

Shruti Kakkar
18 May 2022 1:40 PM GMT
AIFF: Supreme Court Adds Former SC Judge To Committee Of Administrators Of All India Football Federation

In order to facilitate the holding of elections and handing over the affairs to democratically elected body in terms of the Constitution of All India Football Federation which will be adopted, the Supreme Court on Wednesday re-constituted the Committee of Administrators of AIFF.

Along with Dr SY Qureshi (former Chief Election Commissioner) and Mr Bhaskar Ganguly, Former Captain of Indian Football Team already being a part, the bench Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha also appointed former Supreme Court Judge Anil R Dave to head it.

The Top Court also asked the Committee of Administrator ("COA") to take charge of all the affairs of AIFF immediately and asked it to carry out the following functions:

  1. COA shall assist the court and provide its input in the course of the present proceedings so as to facilitate the adoption of the Constitution after considering the objections/suggestions
  2. The committee shall at present stage shall prepare the electoral rolls/college for the purpose of conducting the election to the executive committee in acc to the constitution as proposed subject to further directions as may be passed by this court
  3. Committee shall carry out the day to day governance of AIFF
  4. In discharging its task in terms of the above, the committee would be at liberty to take assistance of the erstwhile committee of AIFF which has continued in office till the date of order in order to facilitate appropriate decisions being taken inter alia in holding the tournament, selection of prayers and all other ancillary functions necessary for proper governance of the affairs of the federation

"This is a temporary arrangement in order to facilitate the holding of elections and handing over the affairs to democratically elected body in terms of the Constitution which will be adopted," Top Court further said.

It also asked the erstwhile Executive Committee to forthwith handover charge to COA and granted COA liberty to make all appropriate arrangements which it considered necessary by engaging necessary staff.

The bench also noted that pursuant to the Top Court's order dated November 10, 2017, the Committee of Administrator had sought the permission of the court to submit its report which was finalized by the Committee.

"The report has been finalized after taking into consideration the response which were received. Since the Committee acting under the authority assigned to it by this court in terms of the above order has sought permission to place the Constitution for further consideration, we allow the request of the Committee," bench further said.

The Top Court also granted any party desirous of obtaining a copy of proposed Constitution, to email its request to Mr Samar Bansal, Counsel for Committee of Administrators. Mr Bansal and also asked the parties to submit their objections and suggestions on or before June 30, 2022.

Bench further asked the Counsel for COA to make a tabulated statement:

  1. Parties submitting the objections/suggestions
  2. The nature of the objection/suggestion
  3. Inputs of the Committee of Administrator on the proposed objections/suggestion

The Top Court issued the directions while considering SLP assailing Delhi High Court's order dated October 31, 2017, by which the High Court had set aside the election of former Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, as AIFF's President for his third successive tenure. Patel was elected for the post in December last year, along with the executive committee for 2017-2020 term after the High Court had vacated a stay on the elections.

The High Court had said that the election was held without following the National Sports Code and called for a fresh election within five months. In the meantime, the Bench comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat (now a judge of the Supreme Court) and Justice Najmi Waziri had also appointed former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi as the administrator.

The Court's order had come on a plea by Advocate Rahul Mehra, who had pointed out that while the Sports Code made it mandatory for each candidate to be nominated by one member association and seconded by another member, the AIFF had stipulated that each candidate had to be nominated by five member associations.

On November 10, 2017, by way of an interim order the Top Court had stayed the operation of the Delhi High Court's judgment and the directions issued in para 22. It had also 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.

Noting the interim order, the bench had said that the consequence was that though the normal tenure of the elected body would in any event have come to an end in 2020, following the expiry of its 4 year term the body had continued to govern the affairs of the AIFF despite the expiry of its term.

In this regards, the bench in their order said, "Such a state of affairs is not in the interest of the governance of the AIFF."

In the SLP before the Supreme Court it was stated that, "That the Hon'ble High Court in midst of the upcoming Football season comprising of the Indian Super league and the I- Leage both starting in the month of November, 2017 and the bidding process for the Fifa Under-20 World Cup 2019 which is to be completed by 14th November 2017 has wrongly ousted the Executive Committee and stopped the smooth functioning of the Petitioner Federation (AIFF)."

It was also stated that the election procedure and submits that the impugned elections were, in fact, conducted "in a democratic manner and in strict compliance with the regulations as contained in its Constitution by the Petitioner, in absence of any alleged misfeasance, malfeasance, irregularity".

Case Title: AIFF v. Rahul Mehra| SLP(C) No. 30748-30749/2017

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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