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Supreme Court decides to appoint a neutral person for handling affairs of Indian Olympic Association

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The Supreme Court has decided to appoint a neutral person for handling the day-to-day affairs of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which is currently in an altercation with the International Olympic Committee on the administrative bodies and delayed elections.

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli after taking the suggestions from the Solicitor General Tushar (SG) Mehta have asked the Secretary of the Union Sports Ministry to communicate with the International Olympic Committee about the appointment.

The Solicitor General has also suggested that a retired Supreme Court judge should oversee the process of finalisation of the new IOA constitution, its electoral rolls and its pending polls.

“The bench has said that we are trying to find a solution. A protem arrangement can be done till the constitution is finalised. … Let the Sports Secretary coordinate with IOA so neither Mr Mehra or Batra (former IOA president) have to litigate. If we pass an order and then they say something to the contrary, it looks very bad.”

The Bench along with the counsel has agreed with advocate Rahul Mehra’s contention that the process should not lead to a rival faction being in charge of affairs in the interim.

The matter is put for hearing on September 22, Thursday.

As per a media report in the IOC had issued a final warning to IOA for resolving its ‘governance issues and hold the pending polls by December, or risk facing a ban.

The executive board of the IOC when met last took a conscious decision of not having any interim President, after former president Narinder Batra’s ouster. The body stated that it would deal with the secretary general as its main point of contact.

While the hearing was SG Mehta submitted that the IOC has no problem with the interim administrative body, the secretary general can also run the day-to-day affairs of the IOA as an interim measure.

A status quo was ordered with respect to the Delhi High Court judgement by the Supreme Court had last month

by which a committee of Administrators (CoA) was appointed to handle the affairs of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) till the election of a new Executive Committee.

The order was passed after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that handing over charge of IOA to a CoA will be considered as third-party interference by the international body, which will likely lead to a suspension from participating in Olympic events.

The High Court of Delhi had appointedCoA comprising 16 former Supreme Court judges, Justice Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Qureshi and former foreign secretary Vikas Swarup.

A Division Bench of Justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri had directed the erstwhile Executive Committee of the IOA to hand over the charge of the association to the CoA, which was also tasked with preparation and adoption of a new Constitution as per the Sports Code and court rulings and conduct of elections within 16 weeks.

The High Court had also directed the Centre government not to grant recognition or any facility to the IOA or to any National Sports Federation (NSF) or any of its affiliated associations if they refuse to comply with the Sports Code as directed by the High Court.

It further said that it is high time that structural reforms are implemented to remove the mismanagement in the sports bodies and to democratise these institutions.

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