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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Supreme Court stays Committee of Administrators take over of Indian Olympic Association

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought the court's intervention and said ``the moment they take over, India stands almost 99 percent chance of being suspended from participating in any Olympic event."

The Supreme Court Thursday ordered that status quo be maintained in respect of the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association. (File)

The Supreme Court Thursday ordered that status quo be maintained in respect of the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), whose charge was directed to be handed over to a Committee of Administrators (CoA) by the Delhi High Court.

A bench presided by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana ordered this after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought the court’s urgent intervention saying it is something that concerns the national prestige at the global level.
“It was mentioned by the counsel for the petitioner as well as the Solicitor General that by virtue of the present order, there is every possibility of losing the chance of participation in the Olympic games and all international events. It is stated it will not be in the interest of the country. In view of the serious concerns raised, we ask the parties to maintain the status quo…It is said the charge has not been handed over. In view of that we direct them to maintain the status quo”, the bench said. It directed that the matter be listed before an appropriate bench for hearing on August 22.

Mehta told the bench that there is a 99 percent chance of India being disqualified from participating in any Olympic event the moment the CoA appointed by the HC takes over. “This is the Indian Olympic Association, the unit of the International Olympic Association. They have their own rules. According to their rules, if any national-level body is represented by a non-elected body, that is treated to be a third-party interference. We are bound by their rules. Every country in the world is bound. The HC has appointed a Committee of Administrators. It may or may not be for valid reason, the merits Your Lordships would go into.

But the moment they take over, India stands almost 99 percent chance of being suspended from participating in any Olympic event…” The HC has directed “forthwith handover” of responsibilities, he said adding “this will essentially be a matter of national prestige at the global field, Your Lordships may interfere”.

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The CJI who was sharing the bench with Justices CT Ravi Kumar and Hima Kohli, however, said Justice Kohli had heard the matter while being a Judge of the HC earlier and “so she may not participate”. The SG suggested that it may be heard by the CJI and Justice Ravikumar.

But the CJI directed that it be listed before the appropriate bench next week. The HC had on August 16 appointed a CoA comprising former SC judge, Justice Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Qureshi and former foreign secretary Vikas Swarup and directed the erstwhile Executive Committee of the Association to hand over charge to this Committee. It also named three former sportspersons — Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, world championship medallist Anju Bobby George and Olympian Bombayla Devi. as ‘consultants’.

The HC referred to its 2013 direction to the government, where it had observed that State Olympic Associations (SOAs) have ‘no worthwhile role or history of having added to sports development in the country for half a century’.

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The HC said that there should be no SOAs’ going forward but added “however, should the IOA insist on having them, the SOAs shall have no votes in the IOA nor will their members be elected to the IOA EC or discharge any position of authority or control, nor will the SOAs be funded, patronized or supported in any manner by the Government”.

First published on: 18-08-2022 at 06:19:14 pm
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