The Chief Justice bench of Delhi High Court today issued notice on a plea filed by Siddharth Sikri, a sports enthusiast, challenging the lifetime presidentship of All India Tennis Association (AITA), the governing body of tennis in India, presently held by SN Krishna, Yashwant Sinha and Anil Khanna.
Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the lifetime presidentship is in violation of the National Sports Development Code.
The Model Election Guidelines prescribed by the National Sports Development Code 2011, that is supposed to be followed by all national sports federations, lists seven office bearers — the President, two Vice Presidents, one General Secretary, one Treasurer and two Joint Secretaries, in addition to five executive members. There is no provision for a ‘Life President’, lets alone three Life Presidents, added Mr. Rai.
The petitioner has relied on the judgment of 2018 passed by Delhi High Court in Mahipal Singh & Ors vs Union of India that struck down the lifetime presidentship in the Kabaddi Federation and appointed Administrator.
“The Model Election Guidelines annexed to the NSCI and constituting a part thereof clearly set out the officers who would constitute Office Bearers of the NSF”, the judgment read.
The list of Office Bearers did not include a ‘Life President’ and only an amendment introduced the position which as per court’s observation was “on the face of it, illegal, as the NSCI did not visualize any post of Life President at all, in an NSF, either as an Office Bearer, or otherwise…
The creation of such an immortal entity, blessed with the gift of “ichhamrityu” (death at will) was, we are certain, not even remotely within the imagination, not to say contemplation, of the framers of the NSCI.”
When the counsel for the respondent attempted to argue against the petition, the Bench cut him short with the remark – “without issuing notice we can’t hear you. Do you want to teach me, before issuing a notice we hear you?”
The petitioner in the petition lists several irregularities, such as unelected lifetime presidentship of Anil Khanna without professionally having earned a name in the sport, construction of a multi-storeyed building on forest land and subletting the same to private entities as office space instead of installing indoor training equipment in the area.
The petitioner in the petition has also prayed for investigation into the affairs of AITA and DLTA (Delhi Lawn Tennis Association) including siphoning of funds by several members, besides seeking directions of fresh election for the constitution of a Managing Committee.
It also seeks return of remuneration received and money spent by Life Presidents for holding posts illegally and cancellation of all rent agreements contrary to law.
The court will next hear the matter on January 28, 2020.
Please find documents related to the petition below:
AITA Registration certificate – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V1djNADDgnHbztYgU_O7M94zy_2-dwA-
AITA Rules and Regulations – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1aEDpVt2QuzqAs0gF6CbdNPblAca2iHje
DLTA Rules and Regulations – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mrv7mQt3kNRd-OlzHSADcg05eLkj6kU8
DLTA – First Temporary Lease ¬– https://drive.google.com/open?id=1lzKC4VbjHqVjlN85obIhSaYz8HgZXPx7
DLTA Second Temporary Lease – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1G1M4dLRBpYrxkCdfkwMk6bc3KKS5_kZt
LDO Office Order No 1-2008 – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1m1yDBltW6L5BG7WQgj86nrpcXyd8pCbv
DLTA Letter dt 29.01.2008 for sublet permission – https://drive.google.com/open?id=19wEyrL8nP3Hd_YB8spAX5Up5P3p1mOJb
Noting portion for LDO Proposal to Addl Solicitor Gen – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QV7szv_l6VTnVrP0CVCu1I8a7kEcJA3P
Noting – Opinion of Ministry of law – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1w-W6qRrTgoHh-HO_Qc6APyOghE_K1RDU
DLTA Letter 18.03.2004 – Not a socio cultural institution – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cAwi03Il2t0yNRn_hGSYcnA5_N2tKuUn
RTI Reply LDO – recreational – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VFoddRNGQuvPSXMbtleVvxjrC-zF7mii
Noting Portion rejection – Ministry of forest – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Wz7K9FrG9FhCN6Qt5j9O3Y4lJY8qkIvm
Agreement MYAS DLTA AITA – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1GB4fo0f8j8vddVGJ2v2DB2P6Z7kYPCUi
Anil Khanna elected Life President of AITA – Sportstar – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sfC5qI-QfSAHU7li61_coqGOET0TJSWJ
Details of Rentals – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1g22nf_HL-WU_pD-AZBzijy10DgGAh3qR
Details of Rentals – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nTQ1cU8x0s75RdfsXdYyr02vYmaoyAzr
RTI applications AITA and DLTA – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Ok2SYarRlTsPHnuR5rmFrEPhHpEB20sq
LDO to DLTA – Show Cause notices – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1icCXsukCgI8omki9EVyLAVYmeRIVaN2i
Noting – LDO – Perpertual lease and govt nominee – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sZ7Mqh6lrDZICnXN5CZSQbNypOeSs59n
Noting – LDO – denotification of forest land – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1OchRLJ0BKueujMYs96dqGSKe_jbItUo8
Noting – LDO – subletting by DLTA – https://drive.google.com/open?id=16JLQYuiEXUND92Tf8AvhWZKrS-8Ff1gV
— India Legal Bureau