SC extends status quo on IOA affairs, CoA will not take over

August 23, 2022 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - NEW DELHI

As India faces risk of being banned, court to hear the case after four weeks

The Supreme Court on Monday extended its status quo on the implementation of a Delhi High Court order directing the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to hand over its affairs to a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA).

A Bench led by Justice S. Abdul Nazeer issued a notice and scheduled the case for after four weeks.

The apex court had initially passed its status quo order in August 18, after the Centre and the IOA informed it that the charge had not yet been transferred to the CoA.

“By virtue of the present order (of the Delhi HC), 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 the parties to maintain status quo,” the court had recorded in its order.

The Centre and the IOA had argued that the Delhi HC 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, had submitted.

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

He had said the HC 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 (CoA) take over, India stands a 99% chance of being suspended from participating in any Olympic event,” Mr. Mehta said. The Delhi High Court had directed the setting up of a COA comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R. Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner Dr. S.Y. Quraishi and former Secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup.

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

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