Sun, 14 Aug 2022

New Delhi [India], July 4 (ANI): The Division Bench of Delhi High Court on Monday refused to stay the Single Judge Bench order restraining Narinder Dhruv Batra from functioning at Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president.

The Division Bench of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad on Monday issued notice to all respondents on the appeal moved by sports administrator Narinder Batra challenging single bench order. The court kept the matter for August 3, 2022, for further hearing.

The single Judge bench on June 25 had ordered Narinder Dhruv Batra to stop functioning as IOA president while hearing a contempt plea filed by former Hockey player and Olympian Aslam Sher Khan alleging wilful disobedience and deliberate defiance of the Judgment dated May 25, 2022, passed by the Court.

Aslam Sher Khan in contempt plea submitted that Narinder Batra was ordered to be discharged from the position in National Sports Federation (NSF) in said order while court-appointed three members committee of administrators for National Sports Federation of Hockey (India).

In an order passed on May 25, the Delhi HC had appointed three members 'Committee of Administrators' (COA) for Hockey India and said that the administrative setup of Hockey India is erroneously or illegally constituted because of the Life President and Life Members.

The court in a judgement said," The Government of India cannot grant recognition to an NSF whose constitution is not in consonance with the Sports Code. The posts of Life President, Life Member in the NSF are illegal so is the post of CEO in the Managing Committee. These posts are struck-down."The bench passed the judgement on a petition moved by Aslam Sher Khan, Former Olympian, challenging the lifetime appointment of Narendra Dhruv Batra and Elena Norman as 'Life Member' and CEO respectively having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the Executive Committee and the working board of the Hockey India.

Court further said, the mere presence of some persons in a Society as a Member or in a meeting, albeit without voting rights can influence independent decision-making and the election process. Till such time it is brought in consonance with the Sports Code and as interpreted by this court, its affairs cannot be left in the hands of persons who have no legitimacy.

In the absence of a Managing Committee, elected under a constitution strictly in consonance with the Sports Code and the court judgments, the interests of hockey, its development and the sentiments of the hockey players, aspirants and enthusiasts should not suffer. Therefore, it would be in the public interest that its affairs be put in the hands of a Committee of Administrators ("CoA"), said the court.

Accordingly, following three persons of eminence from the fields of law, public administration and elections, and from the sport of hockey at national and international levels, are appointed as members of the CoA, Justice Anil R Dave, former Judge of the Supreme Court, Dr S.Y Qureshi, IAS, former Chief Election Commissioner and Zafar Iqbal, former Olympian and captain of the Indian Hockey team, Padmashri awardee, said the order.

The petitioner was represented by Khan was represented by Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Advocate Vansh Dalmiya whereas Advocate Anil Soni appeared for the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the matter.

Aslam Khan through his plea highlighted the various alleged irregularities and illegalities in Hockey India (National Sports Federation). Narender Batra and Ellan Norman have been appointed therein as 'Life Member' and 'CEO' respectively having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the Executive Committee and the Working Board, in blatant violations of the provisions of the National Sports Code, 2011 and the various Circulars and Guidelines.

Petitioner stated that the various acts of nepotism and favouritism of the respondent Narender Batra and Ellan Norman, is causing loss, financial and other to the sport of Hockey.

The Delhi High Court had earlier made it clear that sports federations that are not complying with National Sports Code cannot be granted recognition and gave a last opportunity to the Centre to show that the 41 NSFs granted recognition were complying with the requirements of the code. The direction came during the hearing of a plea filed by Advocate Rahul Mehra challenging the recognition granted to the 41 NSFs. (ANI)

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