Supreme Court orders status quo on move to put panel in charge of Indian Olympic Association

Photo: Twitter/@WeAreTeamIndia

Photo: Twitter/@WeAreTeamIndia

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered status quo on the implementation of a Delhi High Court order to hand over the affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to a Committee of Administrators (CoA).

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana passed the order to maintain status quo after the Centre and the IOA informed the apex court that the charge had not yet been transferred to the three-member CoA.

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The apex court said the case would be posted for hearing before an appropriate Bench on Monday.

The apex court’s order on Thursday came on an urgent mentioning made by the Centre and the IOA that the Delhi High Court’s decision to appoint a CoA ran the risk of India being banned from participating in international events, including the Olympics.

“According to the rules of the International Olympic Committee, representation of a national level body like the IOA by a non-elected body would be treated as a third party interference. The IOA is bound by these rules. Every country in the world is bound by it,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, submitted.

Mr. Mehta said the issue essentially affected “national prestige in the global field”.

He said the High Court’s decision to appoint a CoA may or may not be for valid reasons. The apex court could separately look into the merits. “But the moment they [the CoA] take over, India stands a 99% chance of being suspended from participating in any Olympic event,” Mr. Mehta said.

This turn of events in the athletic arena comes even as India is grappling with the reality of the FIFA ban of the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The governance of the AIFF had similarly been transferred to a CoA by the Supreme Court. The FIFA had recently gone ahead and suspended the AIFF, citing “third party interference”, leaving an air of uncertainty on the prospect of India hosting the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in October.

“By virtue of the present order [of the Delhi High Court], there is every possibility of losing the chance of participating in the Olympics and all international events. It is said the situation is not in the interest of the country… It is made clear that the charge has not been handed over [to the CoA]. We direct parties to maintain status quo,” the court recorded in its order.

The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday directed the setting up of a CoA comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup.

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The High Court had justified the order citing the “persistent recalcitrance” of the IOA to comply with the Sports Code. It has directed the Executive Committee of the IOA to forthwith hand over the charge to the CoA, which would be assisted by three eminent sportspersons, namely, Olympians Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George and Bombayla Devi Laishram.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 11:30:34 pm |