CHENNAI: There seems to be no respite for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). After the Delhi High Court asked the IOA maintain status quo on the elections, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) wrote a letter on Friday to the IOA asking them to complete elections by January 2022. Interestingly, the letter was sent to IOA president Narinder Batra on the same day when the Delhi HC was supposed to hear the matter.
The IOC took note of the court directives but it said that the elections should be held “latest by January 2022”. The body was also not amused that the matter was not resolved internally. “It is unfortunate that such institutional and internal issues could not be addressed and resolved directly within the IOA, by the IOA’s competent governing bodies, in accordance with the IOA constitution…” The IOC also said that any “potential proposal to amend the constitution should be as per IOA constitution and should be submitted to the IOC for prior approval …”
Some senior members fear that things could go awry any moment. With the Court posting the matter for hearing to December 15, it would be difficult to finish the election process by January, especially if the constitution needs to be changed. It needs to be seen how the IOC reacts.
The IOA has been in a bitter power struggle between the president and secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, both of whose two four-year term ends on December 14. Batra and his camp want to go ahead with the AGM at least because the Executive Council has decided, but the Mehta camp feels it would be a waste of money if they go ahead with the AGM without election. The IOC too felt the IOA can hold its general assembly as proposed with agenda other than those of elections.
Sports lawyer Rahul Mehra, who has dragged the IOA to court for flouting sports code in their constitution, said he did not have objection if IOA go ahead with the AGM. But there is a catch — who will decide the members representing NSFs and state units at the AGM. There seems to be a discrepancy in the Electoral College that was finalised on November 30. Mehta has objected to some 14 names and has formed his own list.
Stay continues, next hearing on December 15
The court was critical about the way IOA has been functioning. The court even asked the IOA and the NSFs to put their house in order of the court will have to intervene. Mehra, who is also the petitioner, said the court has asked the IOA to get their house in order. In fact, the court has pulled up the IOA and the NSFs for pointing out to the court that this would tarnish the image of India.
According to Mehra, the court told them the blame should be on them because they are the ones who are supposed to solve problems but now they have turned themselves into a problem. The court had earlier asked the IOA to not go ahead with the election on December 19 in Guwahati till the matter is pending in court. The election was necessitated because Mehta finishes his tenure this month. Also, according to the IOA constitution, the Executive Council should be elected once every four years at least.