Now Football Fed election in controversy, HC issues direction
New Delhi: Even as controversy rages over alleged irregularities in elections to various national sports bodies, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked All India Football Federation to follow National Sports Development Code in its Dec 20 polls and asked the Centre to act in case of violation.
"The sports federation is required to follow the National Sports Development Code, 2011," a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.
The court also said the irregularities, if any, in the election processes be brought to the notice of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which, in turn, may take the requisite steps.
The bench, which posted the matter for hearing on January 14, was hearing an application plea filed by Rahul Mehra, a lawyer, alleging that the sports code has not been followed.
"Electoral College could not be formed/ published till as late as December 13, 2012. The entire electoral process as regards filing of nominations, scrutiny thereof, withdrawals and final list of candidates of Respondent AIFF already stood completed even before its electoral college could be formed," Mehra said in his plea.
"...It is established beyond any doubt that the elections to the various posts of AIFF in its soon to be held AGM on December 20, 2012 are being held contrary to all well established principles of a free, fair and transparent electoral process in general and the Model Election Guidelines as prescribed in the Sports Code in particular," it alleged.
Besides rendering a person older than 70 years ineligible to run the poll for a sports body office, the sports code also stipulates that no person elected to any office consecutively for three terms with each term being of four years would be eligible to run the poll.
The ministry had recently de-recognised the Archery Association of India (AAI) and suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) for not following the National Sports Code in the elections to the bodies.
Mehra, in his plea, alleged that the sports code has been violated as the AIFF has not neither declared "its clean electoral college" nor published "the same on its website as mandated" under the code.
The AIFF has also failed "to intimate the Government of India (Respondent No.1 MYAS herein) well in advance about its General Body Meeting where election of office bearers and other important decisions are to be taken...," the plea said.
The application has sought an order "directing postponement and / or stay of the elections to the various offices, Executive Council and Committees scheduled to be held by the Respondent No. 8 AIFF in its proposed Annual General Meeting on December 20, 2012...".
Earlier, the court had passed the similar order asking the Archery Association of India to hold its September 29 election for various posts as per the Sports Code which rendered its incumbent 80-year-old President V K Malhotra ineligible to contest the poll.
The de-recognitions of AAI and IABF by the government came just three days after the International Olympic Committee has suspended Indian Olympic Association for not following the Olympic Charter during its recent elections.
While AAI was de recognised for "violating the age and tenure guidelines" of the government`s sports code during its elections last month, IABF`s election process was "flawed and faulty" according to the Sports Ministry.
On December 10, the Sports Ministry had issued notice to the Athletic Federation of India to remove a few contentious clauses from its constitution and hold re-elections for the post of president and secretary.
Taking a tough stand on the NSFs ever since the IOC suspended the IOA, the Ministry shot off a letter to the AFI drawing its attention to the clauses and warned of taking action if those were not rectified.