In these days of suspensions and de-recognitions, everyone is waiting for a suspension to come on any National Sports Federation (NSF) any day. On Monday, it was the turn of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to be in line to get a notice from the Union Sports Ministry about a few clauses in its constitution and the need to rectify them.

PTI quoted Sports Secretary P.K. Deb to say that the AFI had been asked to hold fresh elections for president and secretary since there was a restrictive clause in the constitution. The particular clause, as well as several other points, was challenged by lawyer-activist Rahul Mehra in a petition in the Delhi High Court before the AFI held its elections on April 14 last.

The court asked AFI to follow its constitution as well as the provisions in the National Sports Code while allowing the federation to hold its elections. Once the elections were held, on Mehra’s plea again, the court directed the ministry to look into the matter.

In its April 11 order the court had said that the Government of India would accord recognition to the federation.

Subsequently in its September 13 order, while giving the ministry six weeks to pass an order, the court had stated that it expected the government to give a “reasoned order” after going into the objections raised by Mehra.

Mehra had pointed out that the AFI had a restrictive clause that only a previous Executive member could contest for president and secretary, and another that required three ‘proposers” and three to second the proposal for these two posts. He had also raised several other objections. The ministry, which had discussions with the AFI on Monday, is learnt to have objected to just the two above restrictive clauses.

It was also learnt that the ministry was not moving for suspension of the federation.

The AFI officials were confident the matter would be sorted out soon. They were ready to hold fresh elections if that alone could solve the impasse.

The ministry had recently de-recognised the Archery Association of India (AAI) and suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) for not following the National Sports Code.

The AFI officials claimed that their federation had followed every clause in the code including tenure and age restrictions. In fact, the AFI had amended its constitution to include the guidelines pertaining to age and tenure.

The AFI also claimed that it was one of the few federations which had sportspersons in almost every position including in the Executive. It is headed by multiple-time National champion in sprints, Adille Sumariwala.

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