The Delhi High Court Monday refused to stay an order by which veteran sports administrator Narinder Dhruv Batra was restrained from discharging any function as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad issued notice on an appeal by Batra challenging a single judge’s June 24 order which was passed in a contempt petition filed by Olympian and Hockey World Cup winner Aslam Sher Khan.
The bench, which asked Batra’s counsel as to how the appeal was maintainable, issued notice to the Centre and Khan on the plea and listed it for further hearing on July 26.
When advocate Shyel Trehan, appearing for Batra, sought a stay on the order passed by the single judge, the division bench said, “No we are not staying it. Only on a technical issue we have issued a notice”.
The single judge, in its June 24 order, had said, “the respondent no. 1 / proposed contemnor (Batra) is restrained to further discharge any function as President, IOA. In view of the communication dated June 3, 2022, Anil Khanna, Senior Vice President will take over the duties and responsibilities of the President. The Senior Vice President shall also perform any other tasks/ functions as directed by the President, the Executive Council, or the General Meeting”.
The contempt petition is listed for further hearing on August 3.
On May 25, Batra was removed as IOA chief after the high court struck down the post of ‘life member’ in Hockey India, courtesy of which he had contested and won the apex body elections back in 2017.
Khan has filed the contempt petition alleging that Batra was willfully disobeying and deliberately defying the May 25 order of the court by not resigning from the post of IOA president.
Senior advocate Mohit Mathur and lawyer Vanshdeep Dalmia, representing Khan, had submitted that Batra has been removed from the position held by him in the National Sports Federation (NSF) by virtue of the May 25 judgement and he committed contempt of the court by continuing as President of IOA and cannot be allowed to further perpetuate contempt.
In a petition filed by Khan, the high court had passed the verdict in May that the position of life member and life president was “illegal” since they were not in consonance with the National Sports Code, and installed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run Hockey India.
“…the administrative setup of respondent-2 (Hockey India) is, erroneously or illegally constituted because of the Life President and Life Members,” it had said.
“The Government of India cannot grant recognition to an NSF whose constitution is not in consonance with the Sports Code. The posts of Life President, Life Member in the NSF are illegal so is the post of CEO in the Managing Committee. These posts are struck-down,” it had said.
The high court had also come down hard on Batra for trying to “benefit” elsewhere from an “illegal” post.
“What a paradox, to make oneself permanent in an entity whose tenure itself is impermanent. The illegal Post of life president or life member cannot be the stepping-stone for any other position or benefit elsewhere, be it nationally (including in Indian Olympic Association) or in international bodies,” the high court had said.
“If respondent-3 (Batra) has so benefitted, then such benefit or position shall end right away. Let the CoA look into the matter, so would the Government of India,” it had said. PTI SKV SKV RKS