Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the setting up of a three-member committee of administrators (CoA) to take over the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
A bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Najmi Waziri said the “persistent recalcitrance” of the IOA to comply with the Sports Code made it imperative that its affairs be forth with put in the hands of the CoA, which will comprise former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave, former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, and former secretary, ministry of external affairs, Vikas Swarup.
The committee will be assisted by three sportspersons— Olympics gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, long jump Olympian Anju Bobby George, and archer Olympian Bombayla Devi Laishram.
The International Olympic Committee recognises IOA as India’s national Olympic committee. The court struck down the post of “Life President” and any such permanent post for an individual in the IOA as being illegal. It said that the maximum term for the president and all office-bearers and members has to be limited to three tenures as per the law.
The court also called for greater representation of women in the IOA. “Sports administration is not a male preserve. It is a matter of record that in all its 95 years of existence the IOA has never had a woman as its President or Secretary General. Surely women do aspire to be in significant positions in the decision-making process.
Their presence both in the GB (general body), as well as the EC (executive committee) of the IOA, will lend to the fruition of their valid aspirations. Accordingly, women shall comprise half of the category of sportspersons with voting rights in the General Body as well as in the EC,” the court said.
The court’s order was passed on a petition by senior advocate Rahul Mehra seeking strict compliance by the IOA with the Sports Code.