The Delhi High Court has held that the purity in the functioning of sports federations is much more important than the individual who holds its positions while restraining Narinder Batra from the presidentship of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
“This court considers that the functioning of Sports Federation should be above any kind of doubt,” said a vacation bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma. The bench was dealing with the contempt petition against Batra moved by former hockey player Aslam Sher Khan — who was a part of the World Cup winning India team of 1975.
The contempt plea was following the non-compliance of an earlier court order on Khan’s plea seeking to quash certain articles of the Hockey India MOA whereby the posts of ‘Life Member’, ‘CEO’ and ‘Life President’ have been created, in blatant contravention of the NSCI, Circular 1975 and 2001 Guidelines.
During the course of the hearing, Khan’s counsel referred to the earlier order which stated that the post of Life President and Life Member in an NSF is illegal. “He (Batra) had been specifically intimated so by the Government of India. Yet when Hockey India was registered as a Society under the Societies Registration Act 1860, on May 28, 2009, and was granted prompt recognition by the Government of India within a couple of days thereof, R-3 (Batra) went ahead and had himself appointed as Life Member of the Hockey India. This smacks of brazen impertinence to the clear mandate of law. It was a less than honest but futile endeavour to institutionalize oneself in a body whose legitimacy itself is contingent upon conformity with the Sports Code and the law,” read the order.
It further observed: “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 the Indian Olympic Association) or in international bodies. If R-3 (Batra) has so benefitted, then such benefit or position shall end right away. Let the CoA look into the matter, and so would the Government of India.”
IOA’s counsel Ruchir Mishra said it had been informed that the position of Batra as President, IOA would end right away from May 25. It has been further informed that the duties and responsibilities of the President, IOA as per the Constitution of IOA has been taken over by Senior Vice President Anil Khanna.
In the order dated June 24, the court said the Senior Vice President shall also perform any other tasks/functions as directed by the President, the Executive Council or the General Meeting while posting the matter for August 3.