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Ministry, IOA should stop running NSFs arbitrarily, whimsically, says petitioner Rahul Mehra | More sports News

Rahul Mehra. (TOI Photo)

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court lawyer and sports activist, Rahul Mehra, on whose public interest litigation (PIL) the Delhi High Court ordered the withdrawal of provisional annual recognition granted to 54 national sports federations (NSFs), alleged Thursday that the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) have paid the price of their own sheer ignorance and arbitrariness in whimsically deciding the fate of the country’s NSFs.
“This is something they have brought upon themselves because of their sheer arrogance, the double speak and arbitrariness in their decision-making. The ministry has opted to take the ostrich route where they would find it convenient to go with full force and might have the national sports code’s violation against particular federations while leaving the rest. For example, the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) was de-recognised by the ministry because it had three votes per state associations. And the Code allows two votes per association. The same anomaly was there in the constitution of the Fencing Association of India (FAI). Now in fencing, the ministry didn’t de-recognise it because it’s headed by IOA secretary general, Rajeev Mehta. It still falls in that 54 NSFs’ category which had been provisionally granted recognition. Sports minister (Kiren) Rijiju is very cozy with the IOA’s top brass and he doesn’t want anything against any of the IOA office-bearers. The ministry didn’t de-recognise fencing, but for the same irregularity, it de-recognised rowing. This is the kind of arbitrariness they follow in their decision-making,” Mehra alleged.
“Last year, several NSFs were de-recognised and ad-hoc bodies were created by IOA president Narinder Batra. Parallel bodies were created through Batra. I brought it to the notice of the High Court in my case that there seems to be a new modus operandi in the IOA where they are actually blaming the international federations (IFs) when IFs are least bothered about what’s happening nationally. The real agenda was to alter the vote bank politics of the IOA because these people wanted their own cronies to vote in favour of them. I urged the court that any decision taken with regards to NSFs should be first placed before the court for its blessings. It was necessary since the ministry and the IOA were turning blind eye. The order from the court came in ‘Para 6’ of the February 7, 2020 order in my petition, which stated you (ministry) will have to come back to the court to seek its permission (before granting recognition to NSFs). On June 2, 2020 and June 16, 2020, the ministry filed two affidavits in the court, stating that because of the court’s February 7 order, we have come to inform the court that the ministry has taken this decision to provisionally grant annual recognition to 54 NSFs and extended it till September 30, 2020. I replied to these two affidavits saying it’s all hogwash. First of all, the ministry shouldn’t have done this (grant provisional recognition). They should have first come to the court, placed the material before the court and before taking the decision, should have allowed the court to decide. The ministry couldn’t have unilaterally taken a decision. That was against the letter and spirit of the order,” he stated.
Mehra informed that the two-judge bench of the court, Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Najmi Waziri, admitted that the ministry side-tracked from its February 7 order and it was nothing short of a contempt of court. “The minister is running the ministry which is completely defunct. It’s for the minister to check in a very diligent manner that the decisions aren’t taken unilaterally. If there’s a violation of the sports code across the board, then the matter must be dealt with in the strictest manner against anyone who is a defaulter. If the ministry does that and runs the organisation impartially, I will withdraw my case tomorrow. The ministry can come back to this court with appropriate applications and make a good case for themselves,” he added.

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