Mendiratta alleges RO ignored objection to Stokes` nomination

New Delhi: Government observer to the
Hockey India elections today objected to the acceptance of
Vidya Stoke`s nomination for president`s post in violation of
Sports Ministry`s recent age limitation guideline and hinted
that he might resign.

Stokes` nomination for HI president`s post was accepted
by returning officer Justice RC Chopra, (Retd.) despite the
Ministry`s clear directive while giving the "No Objection"
that the election will have to abide by its age limitation

As per the government guidelines no official who is 70 or
above is eligible to contest elections of National Sports
Federations. Stokes is 83 now.

In his interim report to the Ministry, SK Mendiratta said
he had brought the issue of overage of Stokes to Justice
Chopra but he, instead of following it, went by her
representative`s claim that the government guideline was
inapplicable to the HI elections.

"I met Justice RC Chopra on 17th July when the process of
filing of nominations was to conclude on that day. I furnished
him with a copy of Ministry`s letter about the conditional `No
Objection` given to HI for holding their elections subject to
the implementation of Ministry`s Policy Guidelines relating to
age and tenure restrictions," Mendiratta said.

"I stated that it now becomes incumbent on Hockey India
to duly observe and implement the said Policy Guidelines in
the conduct of their current elections of Office Bearers. Subsequently, I wrote a formal letter also to him," he said in
the letter addressed to joint secretary Injeti Srinivas.

Mendiratta said on being objected by the other candidate
for president`s post Pargat Singh, Stokes` representative and
HI Secretary General Narinder Batra argued that the guideline
was not applicable as HI has stopped taking funds from the

"Narinder Batra and Hitesh, counsel for Stokes, admitted
that Stokes was above the age of 70, but stated elections to
Hockey India were to be held in accordance with the
Constitution and By-laws of HI, which is a registered society
under the Societies Registration Act and that there was no age
limit for any office in HI as per its said Constitution and

"Both of them categorically made a statement before the
Returning Officer that the Hockey India was not asking for any
financial grant or facilities from the Government and,
therefore, the Hockey India was not obliged to follow and
implement the abovesaid Policy Guidelines of the Government.”

"They also submitted that HI was prepared to face the
consequences of not following the Government`s Policy
Guidelines. Taking note of these, Returning Officer accepted
the nomination of Stokes, by passing a speaking order,"
Mendiratta said in the letter.

The government observer alleged that the returning
officer refused to give a copy of his order accepting Stokes`
nomination, saying that he would do so only asked by a court.

"I made an oral request to the Returning Officer for the
supply of a copy of his order accepting the nomination paper
of Vidya Stokes. But he did not accept my request and stated
that he would furnish a copy of that order only if demanded by
a Court," Mendiratta said.

"I also raised a question as to on the basis of which
authority Batra had made a statement that Hockey India was not
obliged to follow Policy Guidelines of Ministry and was
prepared to face consequences for not following those
Guidelines for their current elections.”

"In view of the above, I would like to be advised whether
I should continue to be an Observer for elections to the
Hockey India," he said.