Amid confusion, amended constitution 'adopted' at IOA's SGM

Though Mehta said that the election process would start on Friday, some members asked can it happen if there are objections to the constitution.

Published: 11th November 2022 07:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th November 2022 07:49 AM   |  A+A-

Indian Olympics Association (IOA)

Indian Olympics Association (IOA)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Finally, sweeping changes in the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will kick in after the Special General Meeting 'adopted' the amended constitution. It is learnt that the sailing was not smooth but the house had no other option but to concede after heated discussions at the Olympic Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday. In short, it was passed because no one knew if they could have opposed after SC gave its nod.

There were issues that have been raised and some clarifications were sought from the Supreme Court too. It is learnt that a letter raising objections was signed by members and submitted to the Returning Officer Umesh Sinha and the government observer. Some members even stayed behind even after the meeting. There was confusion about whether the constitution was actually adopted especially after members raised objections to certain clauses in it.

According to the IOA secretary general, Rajeev Mehta, there was no confusion and meeting went well. "We have adopted the constitution and requested some minor changes," he told this daily from New Delhi. But some members said that if the constitution has been adopted then where is the question of objections?
The one-man committee of retired judge L Nageswara Rao had amended the constitution, besides the IOA members, in consultation with the International Olympic Committee, the sports ministry and the Olympic Council of Asia. Though some members were thinking of objecting to it and even a secret ballot was mooted, the SGM did not see any change of heart at the last minute.

One sticky point was the state units not having voting rights in the general body and their ineligibility to contest elections. The members then decided to suggest that two members of the state units be allowed to be part of the Executive Council with voting rights.

"We thought that just like the Athletes Commission members if two representatives of the state units can be accommodated in the Executive Council with voting rights it would be good," said Mehta. "The election process will begin from Friday."

Another issue raised by some of the members, for which they would be seeking clarifications from the one-member committee and the SC, is whether the constitution would be adopted in retrospective or prospective effect.If the constitution is adopted retrospectively, then almost all members part of the EC will not be eligible to contest elections. According to the amended constitution, all members of the EC are considered

There was confusion about who would chair the meeting as according to the 2018 IOA constitution, "In the absence of the President, one of the Senior Vice Presidents approved by the Executive Council shall preside over the meetings." Members said that the house should have decided but secretary general decided to 'chair' despite one senior vice president insisting on chairing it.

Though Mehta said that the election process would start on Friday, some members asked can it happen if there are objections to the constitution. There might be objections, like a section in its letter said their democratic right to vote for the constitution was taken away after the SC gave its nod to it. Another issue raised was the appointment of the Chief Executive Officer and the power the person would wield. The members felt their voice would be muffled if that happen and power would be concentrated in a set of select few.

India Matters


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