High Court asks IOA to follow code in October poll (Lead)

September 13th, 2012 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to follow the National Sports Development Code for its next elections, scheduled for October or November this year, and ruled that incumbent president Suresh Kalmadi was ineligible to contest for another term.

According to the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011, the president of IOA cannot hold the position for more than 12 years, but Kalmadi has been in the post for around 18 years.

Kalmadi has gone on an unspecified sabbatical after he was chargesheeted for financial irregularities in the conduct of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said that elections of the IOA this year must be conducted as per the sports code of Union Sports Ministry.

Under the code, the president, secretary and treasurer of any recognised national sports federation, including the IOA, shall cease to hold the post on attaining the age of 70 years.

The code also lays down that the secretary and the treasurer may serve a maximum of two successive terms of four years each. Two other IOA office bearers, V.K. Verma and Lalit Bhanot have completed eight years in service.

The court’s directions came on a plea filed by advocate Rahul Mehra who sought fresh elections of the office bearers of the IOA and compliance with the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011.

Mehra, during the hearing expressed concern saying that some office bearer like Kalmadi may flout the sports code to get re-election for the upcoming IOA election in October-November.

The bench had earlier remarked: “As per the guidelines, he (Kalmadi) is not eligible to be president of IOA. He is not eligible to hold the post, so why should he want to continue as president?”

Mehra in his another application also told the court that the election of Athletics Federation of India (AFI) held April 14 was not conducted as per the Sports Ministry guidelines.

To this the court asked the ministry to take a reasoned decision within six weeks after considering the submissions of the lawyer and the sports body on the issue.

The bench also said that the ministry can also take punitive measures like de-recognition of the sports body if the allegations of flouting of guidelines is found to be correct.

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