CHENNAI: Just days before the all-important polls, the sports ministry has directed the National Rifle of Association of India (NRAI) to appoint a new Returning Officer and put in place a ‘fresh election process in a fair and transparent manner’. The ministry’s letter was in response to Delhi High Court’s order dated September 10.
Despite the ministry order, a NRAI official confirmed to this daily on Thursday that the body will be going ahead with the elections as per schedule in Mohali on September 18. The ministry came up with the order after taking into account the various objections that Uttar Pradesh State Rifle Association, on behalf of Shyam Singh Yadav, had raised in a writ petition filed in the Delhi High Court. Yadav is challenging Raninder Singh for the president’s post.
In a letter sent to both the parties, the ministry noted: “... it has also been contended by the petitioner that the Returning Officer was appointed as Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) of the State of Punjab under Punjab State Vigilance Commission Act; and that his name for the said post has been recommended by a three-member committee headed by a close relative of the current president of NRAI.
“Therefore, NRAI is directed to appoint a new Returning Officer and initiate fresh election process for conducting elections to its Governing Body in a fair, objective and transparent manner by adhering to the provisions of National Sports Development Code of India, 2011,” the letter added. A few of the members are on their way to the venue.
The ministry has also made a note on the questions that Yadav had raised in regards to Singh’s tenure. However, according to the Sports Code, “the president of any recognised NSF, including the IOA, can hold the office for a maximum period of 12 years, with or without break.” That technically means Singh is a valid contestant.
“The petitioner has raised the issue of the current president of NRAI seeking his re-election as president for the fourth term and whereas this ministry letter No. 52-66/2009 SP-I (Vol.II) dated 30.10.2017 provides that he is serving his third term as President of NRAI for 2017-2021,” the ministry noted. Yadav’s lawyer Vidushpat Singhania hoped NRAI doesn’t go ahead with the elections. “NRAI should comply with the ministry’s order,” he said. “This was drafted based on Delhi High Court’s order.”