SC tasks former SC judge to amend IOA’s constitution
The court asked the IOA to place the amended Constitution before it till December 15, 2022 and asked Justice LN Rao to take up the assignment in the interest of the future of Olympics sports in India.
NEW DELHI: To ensure a fair development-oriented future of Olympic sports in India, the Supreme Court on Thursday tasked former SC judge LN Rao with amending the Constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), preparing the electoral college as well as conducting elections.
Asking the IOA to place the amended Constitution before the top court till December 15, 2022, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli in their order said, “We accordingly request Justice LN Rao, former judge of this court to take up the assignment in the interest of ensuring a fair and development-oriented future of Olympics sports in India. Justice LN Rao will be at liberty to fix the same in consultation with the IOA. Amendment to the Constitution may be placed before this court. Simultaneously, the preparation of the electoral college and election schedule may also proceed to take place.”
Against the backdrop of execution of MoU’s by IOA with the Secretary General, Govt of Gujarat and Gujarat Olympic Association with regards to national games and Secretary General being in charge of day-to-day administration for committees formed for preparation of the games, the bench also said that Rajeev Mehta will remain as Secretary General of IOA till further orders.
“Games are being conducted after 7 years. This court has been apprised of the fact that national games are being conducted by the IOA between 29th September 2022 and 12th October after a gap of 7 years. Events will be held in multiple cities in the state of Gujarat including Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, and Bhavnagar. Nearly, over 8k athletes are expected to participate in the national games which constitute the biggest sporting events in India. MoUs have been executed by the IOA with the Secretary General, Govt of Gujarat, and Gujarat Olympic Association. The preparations have been done by IOA; multiple committees are being made & the Secretary General is responsible for the day-to-day administration. Having regard to this backdrop and the impending national games, we direct that the administration of IOA shall, until further orders under the auspices of the former judge appointed by this court be conducted by Secretary General of the IOA,” the bench said in its order.
On Senior Advocate Dr Maneka Guruswamy’s contention that the Secretary General had lost the confidence of the executive body and this was one of the issues before the bench, Justice Chandrachud said, “We can't have a situation where there is nobody. See the difficulty we have to have someone in place. Will they be able to run? They’ve said he will be the contact point.”
With regards to the joint meeting that is scheduled to be conducted on September 27 between the members of IOA and International Olympic Committee, the bench in its order noted that IOA will be represented by Mr Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General and Mr. Adille J. Sumariwalla. Noting that the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports would be representing the Centre in the meeting in Lausanne, the bench tasked the Secretary to submit a report to the court.
Court’s order came in petitions preferred by the Indian Olympic Association challenging Delhi HC’s ruling of directing the executive committee of the IOA to forthwith hand over the charge to the Committee of Administrators set up by the HC. After the centre and IOA had informed SC that by virtue of the order, there was every possibility of losing the chance of the country participating in Olympics and all international events, a bench headed by the then CJI NV Ramana on August 18 had passed a status quo order which was then extended on August 22, 2022.