New Delhi: The Indian Hockey Federation on Saturday shot back at the sports ministry for expressing displeasure over its recently-concluded election, saying the government has no power to declare its poll process "null and void" as it has complied with all the stipulated guidelines.
IHF secretary general Ashok Mathur took strong exception to joint secretary in the sports ministry, Injeti Srinivas` statement that the election process of the body, which was completed during a special general body meeting on Monday, was "null and void" for not complying with the government guidelines.
"We have adhered to all the criteria of the government. We are the first to accept the age and tenure limitation guidelines by amending our constitution. We also appointed a Retd High Court judge as Returning Officer, and took care of all points.
We held out election on October 3 which was also attended by the government observer. But we couldn`t declare the result because of a court case," Mathur told reporters.
"The government was well informed about all the developments. Even the government observer was present during the merger of IHF and IWHF on August 12. We also informed the Registrar of Societies about the merger. So, how can the government say that we did not follow their guidelines."
"I was surprised at Injeti Srinivas` statement in the paper today. Who is he to say that the election is null and void without going through all the facts," Mathur insisted.
In a letter to IHF president, Deepika Kachhal, a director in the sports ministry had sought to know the authenticity of reports about the polls conducted on Monday and said the hockey body faces risk of derecognition if it was found that guidelines were not adhered to during the election process.
"It has been learnt from newspaper reports that the Indian Hockey Federation has conducted the elections of its office bearers on the Special GBM held on 20th December and has also declared results thereof," the ministry letter read.
"You may be aware that being a recognised federation, IHF is required to intimate the government about its General Body Meeting or any other meeting where elections and other important decisions are to be taken. The IHF is also required to hold the elections after following the due procedure as per government guidelines.
"Any failure to do so will make the federation liable for initiating proceedings for suspension/derecognition," it added. But Mathur came hard on the observations and said the federation was not bound to inform the sports ministry about IHF`s each and every meeting as mentioned in Friday`s letter.
"We have already replied the government clarifying everything. I don`t know why they are asking the same thing repeatedly?," he questioned.
"They (the ministry) wants us to show the letter of acceptance from the Registrar of Societies but no one will issue such a letter. We invited the government observer during the elections, which were unanimous. We are not bound to inform them about everything," he added.
Mathur said the IHF will reply to the government letter by Monday or latest Tuesday.
"Of course, we would have intimated the government separately about the election results but they did not wait and sent us the letter. We will file our reply on Monday or Tuesday," he said.
IHF completed its election process on Monday during a special meeting in which R K Shetty replaced former top cop KPS Gill as its president.