If the draft-revised constitution sent by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to go by, no chargesheeted or convicted person would be eligible to contest the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections.
In a 43-page draft-revised constitution, the IOC has laid down the provisions concerning the election process of the IOA wherein it stated that a person should “not face charges framed against him/her by any court in India, in respect of a criminal or corruption offense which would be punishable with imprisonment if he/she was convicted; not have been convicted of any criminal or corruption offense”.
If this is to be enforced or ratified by the IOA during the general body meeting on August 25, then senior officials like Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma, who are facing corruption charges in relation to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, will not be eligible to contest elections. Suresh Kalmadi, the former IOA president, has already said he was not interested in contesting elections.
However, according to sources in the IOA, this is just a revised draft and is open for discussion. In fact, the IOA has till August 16 to reply to the IOC with suggestions and explanations. It has been learnt that the IOA would explain to the IOC the country's law and suggest and try to get this rule modified.
Other issues of age and tenure, however, have been left to the IOA to implement. The IOC said it was up to the IOA to “As mentioned on numerous occasions, please note that the decision to include (or not) tenure restrictions is left entirely to the IOA. In this regard, the IOC would have no objection in principle with the wording proposed by IOA members provided that it is accepted by the IOA General Meeting on 25 August 2013.”
When contacted, Narender Batra, Hockey India secretary and IOA member who has been coordinating between the IOA and the IOC on this, said this was not a big issue.
“The revised draft has included 90 per cent of our suggestions and there is no conflict anywhere,” he said. “There are some language issues that we will reply to with our suggestions.”
Batra also said since the IOC might not be well versed with the laws of India they have taken this decision.
“We will send the explanation to them tomorrow and get it done.” On age and tenure, he said things would be discussed during the IOA general body meeting and sorted out.