Changing constitution will add confusion in Indian Olympic body

IOA members hold talks to amend rules and make Narinder Batra eligible for president, but this might lead to complications ahead of big year.

Published: 06th October 2017 12:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2017 08:57 AM   |  A+A-

IOA president N Ramachandran (R) presents a memento to Narinder Batra. | File Photo

Instead of absolute transparency, there is an absolute absurdity in the way our sports administrators function. There’s not much professionalism either. Efforts of sports ministry through its Sports Code brought some sanity into the system. Yet, a lot needs to be done.

Take for instance the latest crisis that’s threatening to shatter the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

Hectic parleys are orchestrated within the confines of meeting halls to oust N Ramachandran as president. Ever since he finished a two-year term, such demands have been surfacing every now and then.

On one hand, Ramachandran argues that his term is for four years according to the constitution of the IOA. Detractors feel his tenure was over because the election was for the remaining period after the International Olympic Council lifted the suspension on IOA in 2012.

Another contention was, Ramachandran is 69 and won’t be eligible on the age clause. So why is he not calling for elections? There is a fissure right in the middle. A meeting was organised in Delhi last Friday to chalk out ways to support Narinder Batra as the next president. IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta will continue in the same post.

However, there are legal issues plaguing Batra’s ascension. He is not an executive board member and hence, according to the IOA constitution, he is not eligible. So a requisition meeting has been sought to amend Clause XI (i) (c) that will make him eligible.

If members who attended the meeting are to be believed, more than the required 50 per cent were present and they believe the president has no other choice but to call a meeting.

Changing the constitution will not be easy either. It needs the two-third's consent in the general assembly and the amended constitution needs IOC’s nod too. Also, this will make everyone who is part of sports administration in the country eligible (even someone remotely associated with IOA), which is not ideal.

Batra supporters believe they have the upper hand because former secretary generals of IOA, Lalit Bhanot and Randhir Singh, are supporting them. Current IOA secretary general Mehta was present too.

There were notable absentees as well. Badminton, tennis and swimming federations did not attend the meeting. It is understood IOA officials are scrutinising the email address from which the documents were circulated to call a meeting.

They have even sent out emails to several national federations and state Olympic associations, saying the emails were sent from a fake ID as IOA’s official id is different.

If need be, they might even approach the police. It is learnt the president is waiting for original documents before taking a final decision. Whatever happens, this episode again shows IOA in poor light ahead of Asian and Commonwealth Games.

N Ramachandran group felt they were in no hurry as 30 days is a long time. Also, they feel some of the requisition letters did not have signatures of the president or secretary. If everything is in order, he will call for a meeting

What they seek

Fixing of date to conduct the election of IOA Executive Council consisting of office bearers and members by January 31, 2018. Appointment of a three-member independent body to supervise the same.

Clarification raised on word ‘preceding’ in Clause at XI(1)(c) of Statutes. Interpretation shall mean the word now not limited ‘to only the last two ECs. It will henceforth mean ‘of the elected OBs and members in ‘ANY’ of the preceding EC’s.

Members “who had been part of the ECs of were holding posts of office bearers in any of the preceding four ECs or have attended a minimum of four AGMs shall be eligible for contesting elections.” The rule, as it stands, says only members who held EC posts or were office bearers in the ‘preceding EC’ shall contest.

Ramachandran will have to call a Special General Meeting of IOA within 30 days from the receipt of this notice. If he fails to do that, the requisitionists will hold the SGM on December 16

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