Supreme Court approves timetable for polls at IOA Executive Board

The Supreme Court on Monday approved the timetable for amending the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) draft constitution and its elections, as agreed at the September 27 meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said former Chief Justice LN Rao will be free to take an “unhindered holistic perspective” on the matter as he drafts amendments to the IOA constitution, subject to the qualification that it is necessary , to ensure the draft amendment has the endorsement and approval of the IOC to avoid complications in the future.

It said: “In view of the conclusion reached during the course of the Lausanne meeting, the note submitted by the union government set out a proposed timetable for the completion of the dual process of amending the IOA’s constitution and completing the holding of the Election of the IOA”.

The bank noted that according to the proposed timeline, the entire process must be completed before the December 2022 IOC meeting.

It also noted that the minutes of the September 27 meeting indicate that the first step is an amendment to the IOA charter to introduce governance reforms. “Both IOC and OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) have agreed to work on the revised draft constitution with the former judge appointed by this court. Once the constitution is finalized, it is expected to be formally adopted by the IOA General Assembly,” the bank said. It added that the second step would be to hold the IOA election in accordance with the newly approved constitution, under the supervision of the former Supreme Court judge. The top court said a copy of the order would be presented to Judge LN Rao and “we would ask him to oversee the entire process in accordance with the previous order and we would appreciate if the proposed time limits were duly relaxed.” The jury directed: “Once the new Constitution has been duly adopted and approved by the IOC, there shall be an appropriate direction that the new Constitution shall be adopted by the IOA General Body under the mandatory direction of this Court.” It released the matter for further hearing after the Diwali holiday.

According to the notice the center submitted to the court, Judge Rao will hold the first meeting on October 14, and the work to prepare the draft constitution will take place between October 14 and November 7.

It is said that an invitation to an Extraordinary General Meeting of the IOA to adopt the new Constitution will be issued on October 20, as the Extraordinary General Meeting requires a clear 15-day notice.

On November 7, the draft constitution will be finalized and submitted to a special annual general meeting for adoption and the IOC for approval.

The schedule says that the draft constitution will be adopted by the IOA general body on November 10th.

The election process for the IOA Board of Directors begins on November 14th and will be completed by December 3rd after the results are announced.

The International Olympic Committee Executive Board meeting is scheduled for December 5, which is also the deadline set by the IOC for the formation of the IOA Executive Board.

To ensure a fair and pro-development approach to the future of the Olympic Games in India, the Supreme Court on September 22 commissioned Judge (retd) Rao to amend the IOA constitution and prepare its electoral college.

The Supreme Court had asked Judge Rao to create a roadmap for amending the constitution and holding elections by December 2022.

She had also given permission for Rajeev Mehta, currently Secretary General of the IOA, and Adille Sumariwalla, its Vice President, to attend the September 27 meeting with the IOC.

The IOC had issued a final warning on September 8 for the IOA to “solve its governance problems” and hold elections by December, otherwise the world sport’s governing body will ban India.

The Executive Board of the IOC, meeting in Lausanne, had also decided not to recognize an “acting/interim president” following the ouster of Narinder Batra as head of the Indian Olympic Association, and said it would look to Secretary-General Rajeev Mehta as the main point of contact.

The IOC had also previously threatened to suspend the IOA if it failed to hold its election at the earliest.

The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held due to changes in the voting process.

Last December, the IOA formed a six-member committee to consider changes to be made to its constitution before holding elections to align it with the National Sports Code.

Promoted

In May this year, Batra was ousted as IOA chief after the Delhi High Court scrapped the post of ‘member for life’ in Hockey India, with which he contested and won the 2017 apex body election.

Batra later officially resigned as IOA President. After being removed from office by the Supreme Court, Batra issued a statement announcing his decision not to contest the IOA election

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