SC permits HI to send women's team for World Cup

The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to send the women's hockey team to take part in the World Cup in Argentina beginning on August 26.

A Bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice H.L. Gokhale passed this interim order on a petition filed by HI that its team be allowed to participate in the world cup match and the participation was being denied following de-recognition by the Government of India.

In a brief order, the Bench said “The HI and IOA are permitted to send women's team for participation in women's world cup at Argentina. It is noted that players who have been selected for participation in world cup by the HI and the IOA are the same as the players who are also identified and selected by the Sports Authority of India.”

Temporary arrangement

The Bench made it clear that this order was not intended to accept HI's contentions. The Bench said that this was only a temporary arrangement having regard to the fact that the team has to be sent on August 21 for the country's participation in the world cup. The Bench while passing this order took into consideration the submissions made on behalf of the HI that as per the communication received from the International Hockey Federation (FIH), only HI had been recognised to represent the Indian team.

Earlier, senior counsel Ashok Desai and senior counsel Rohinton Nariman, appearing for the HI submitted that HI had selected the team for participation in the World Cup but it could not do so unless the government's order de-recognising HI was stayed. The counsel submitted that the FIH had recognised only HI and at the moment only this association was in a position to send the team for participation in the event in Argentina.

On behalf of the Centre it was submitted that the Indian Hockey Federation, recognised by the government would be able to send the team. It was argued that a private body like the HI could not send a team to represent India. However, Justice Raveendran pointed out that the cricket team sponsored by the BCCI-represented India.

Time granted

The court granted time for the Centre to produce a communication that the FIH had recognised it to send the team for the World Cup. However, when the Centre failed to produce any evidence, the court permitted the HI to send the team to Argentina. On behalf of the IOA it was submitted that the Sports Ministry was presenting a factually wrong picture and it had recognised only HI to send the team as it was recognised by the FIH. It said that if a decision was not taken urgently, it would be a national shame as Indian women team which has qualified in last 12 after eight years would be deprived to participate in the world cup.

The HI has also sought revocation of a letter written by government to the International Hockey Federation about its decision that HI is not a recognised body. The Bench listed the matter for further hearing on August 25.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 11:16:38 PM |

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