SC directs Centre, states to file responses on plea seeking directions for uniform healthcare standard
Supreme Court of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Thursday the election of the office bearers of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) must go ahead as scheduled and it will hear on December 7 the issues relating to the sports body, including the amendments sought to be made to the draft constitution.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala rejected the plea for urgent listing of the case which was sought on the ground that three “minor amendments” to the draft constitution have to be decided prior to the polls.

“Election for the office bearers (of the IOA) is set to begin from December 10. Three minor amendments have taken place in the constitution prepared by former Supreme Court judge Justice L Nageswara Rao. The hearing is needed to hear the issue related to amendments in the constitution,” a lawyer said.

The plea was opposed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and senior advocate Rahul Mehra.

“We will hear it on December 7. The election must go on as per the schedule,” the bench said.

The top court has approved holding of IOA elections on December 10.

Earlier, it had on Tuesday directed that its orders of October 10 and November 3 on adoption of a new constitution and polling for electing an executive committee of the IOA shall be scrupulously followed.

The law officer had said the IOA constitution, as drafted by the former judge of the top court, has been adopted at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the sports body and any amendments to it can be made only with the express permission of the court.

On November 3, the top court had approved a fresh timeline submitted by the Justice LN Rao committee for the election of the IOA executive panel to be held on December 10.

The top court had also allowed circulation of the draft amended constitution among members of the IOA so it could be adopted at the general body meeting on November 10.

The SC had noted that the judge had interacted with all stakeholders, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IOA, and its state associations.

On September 22, in a bid to ensure a fair and development-oriented approach for the future of Olympics in India, the top court had appointed Justice Rao for amending the IOA constitution and preparing its electoral college.

All these came after the IOC on September 8 issued a “final warning” to the IOA to resolve its governance issues and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

The executive board of the IOC, which met in Lausanne, Switzerland, had also decided not to recognise any “acting/interim president” after Narinder Batra’s ouster as Indian Olympic Association chief, and said it would deal with secretary general Rajeev Mehta as the main point of contact.

In May this year, Batra was removed as IOA chief after the Delhi High Court struck down the post of ‘life member’ in Hockey India through which he had contested and won the apex body elections in 2017.

Batra later officially resigned as IOA president.

The IOC had also earlier threatened to suspend the IOA if it failed to conduct its election at the earliest.

The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held due to amendments in the poll process.

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