The Archery Association of India (AAI) has decided to challenge the High Court order of appointing former Chief Election Commissioner Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi as the ‘administrator’ of the sports body.
A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Najmi Waziri appointed Quraishi, a former secretary in the Sports Ministry, as the administrator-cum-returning officer to look into the affairs of the AAI for four months and conduct elections, in its judgement on August 10.
The judgement came on a plea filed by activist lawyer Rahul Mehra and it tasked Quraishi with the job of resolving the affiliation issues and finalise the electoral college.
While Quraishi gave his verbal consent to Mehra to be the administrator, the de-recognised AAI has refused to accept the order.
“We are going to challenge the order since it is not consistent with law and facts. Some of the facts are not correct, so keeping that in mind, we are going to appeal against the order,” AAI Secretary General Anil Kamineni told PTI from Hyderabad.
The High Court, in its December 2016 order, had told AAI to hold elections for the various posts.
It said several states were not represented at the general council meeting which was called to amend the AAI constitution. Kamineni contended that the AAI too wants fair elections.
“It’s not that we did not want elections. We had gone through a process of amending the constitution and our next step was to conduct elections. We had started the process, it’s not right,” he said.
However, it appears that AAI has not taken this decision by consulting all state association.
Kulbir Kang, President of the Punjab Archery Association, said the AAI has not taken the right decision.
“They have stopped consulting us. It’s a defunct body without any funds. Who is going to pay for it? I don’t understand on what basis they will challenge the judgement,” Kang said while speaking to PTI.
“Are they doubting the credentials of Mr Quraishi? They should have welcomed the judgement. It shows that they don’t want truth to prevail, by hook or crook they want to stay.
These guys have killed the archery and the law has exposed them,” Kang added.
The Delhi High Court had said that all the financial transactions by AAI are to be carried out with the prior approval of the Administrator.
The 72-year-old Kang, who retired as a secretary in the Punjab government, said he is willing to quit as President of Punjab Archery Association as per the Sports Code.
“AAI was one of the best-run associations in the country till 2010-11 but things have dramatically in the last five years or so,” he lamented.
The AAI conducted its last elections in November, 2012 and was de-recognised by the Sports Ministry on December 17, 2012 for failing to comply with the Sports Code.
Ignoring the de-recognition, AAI officials continued till their term expired in November 2016.
On the representation of Rahul Mehra, the Court directed AAI to conduct the elections by March 31, 2017 as per the AAI Constitution and Sports Code.
The suspended AAI ignored the orders and convened an Emergency Meeting of General Council on March 15, 2017 to amend its constitution.
The AAI claims that the emergency meeting was convened to amend the present constitution to make it compliant with the National Sports Development Code 2011.
The Delhi High Court, however, set aside the amendments to the present constitution in its judgement on August 11, last month.
The court observed that most of the leading archery states, especially from East and North East, were not present and the 30 days notice period to call the General Council was not observed.
It has been learnt that the Odisha Archery Association is also not aware of the AAI decision to challenge the order.
“I am not aware. The office bearers (of AAI) must have discussed it among themselves. I can’t say on the High Court since I have not read it,” Odisha Archery Association’s Secretary Sradhanand Das said.