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Polls for IOA must go on as per schedule: Supreme Court

The highly-awaited IOA Elections will be held this year from December 10. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has warned that the polls will be held per schedule.

Polls for IOA must go on as per schedule: Supreme Court-ayh
First Published Nov 17, 2022, 4:27 PM IST

The Supreme Court declared on Thursday that the election of the office bearers of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) must go ahead as per the schedule, and the hearing for the issues relating to IOA, including amendments sought to be included to the draft constitution, will be heard on December 7. A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala repudiated the plea for the case's urgent listening, seeking three minor modifications to the draft constitution that need to be decided before the polls. The IOA Election for office bearers will begin on December 10.

Three minor revisions have occurred in the constitution prepared by former SC judge Justice L Nageswara Rao. A lawyer said that the hearing is required to hear the issue related to amendments in the constitution. The appeal was opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and senior advocate Rahul Mehra.

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"We will hear it on December 7. The election must go on as per the schedule," the bench said. The top court has approved the holding of IOA elections on December 10. Earlier, it had on Tuesday directed that its orders of October 10 and November 3 on the adoption of a new constitution and polling for electing an executive committee of the IOA shall be carefully followed.

The law officer had said the IOA constitution, as drafted by the former judge of the top court, has been adopted at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the sports body, and any amendments to it can be made only with the express permission of the court. On November 3, the top court approved a new timeline submitted by the Justice LN Rao committee for the election of the IOA executive panel to be held on December 10.

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The top court had also allowed circulation of the draft amended constitution among members of the IOA so it could be adopted at the general body meeting on November 10. The SC noted that the judge had interacted with all stakeholders, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOA and its state associations.

On September 22, to ensure a fair and development-oriented approach for the future of the Olympics in India, the top court appointed Justice Rao to amend the IOA constitution and prepare its electoral college. All these came after the IOC on September 8 issued a "final warning" to the IOA to resolve its governance issues and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

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The executive board of the IOC, which met in Lausanne, Switzerland, had also decided not to recognise any "acting/interim president" after Narinder Batra's ouster as Indian Olympic Association chief and said it would deal with secretary general Rajeev Mehta as the main point of contact. In May this year, Batra was removed as IOA chief after the Delhi High Court struck down the post of 'life member' in Hockey India (HI), through which he had contested and won the apex body elections in 2017.

Batra later officially resigned as IOA president. The IOC also threatened to suspend the IOA if it failed to conduct its election at the earliest. The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held due to amendments in the poll process.

(With inputs from PTI)

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