The Supreme Court on Thursday approved a fresh timeline submitted by the Justice (retired) L N Rao committee for the election of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) executive committee, to be held on December 10.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli also allowed circulation of the draft amended constitution among members of the IOA so that it could be adopted in the general body meeting scheduled to be held on November 10.
It said former apex court judge Justice L N Rao has submitted a note dated November 2 which indicates the comprehensive exercise which has been carried out by him on an expedited basis and this court appreciates the alacrity with which the assignment has been taken up in the national interest.
The bench noted that the judge has interacted with all stakeholders including the International Olympic Committee, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and State Associations.
"There is a broad consensus in terms of the note submitted by Justice L Nageswara Rao that the elections should be held on 10 December 2022. The proposal is accepted," the bench said.
It further said, "The amendments proposed to the constitution of the IOA have to be circulated today so that the General Body Meeting can be held on November 10, 2022. The proposal which has been submitted in that regard is accepted. The proposed amendments are permitted to be circulated. Justice L Nageswara Rao is at liberty to chalk out the modalities for the circulation of the proposed amendments."
The bench noted that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has stated that Justice L N Rao has indicated that he would perform the task which has been assigned by this court pro bono.
It directed that Justice L N Rao be paid an amount of Rs 20 lakh towards the honorarium.
The top court also restrained the courts across the country from entertaining any petition with regard to the draft constitution or the proposed executive committee elections, and said all such petitions will be taken up by it only.
"No other court shall entertain any petition relating to the amendment of the constitution of the IOA or to the election to the Executive Committee of the IOA. All objections shall be submitted by any person or party before this Court alone," the bench said in its order.
It listed the matter for further hearing on December 7.
At the outset, Mehta submitted that Justice Rao has finished his task and the draft constitution has been submitted to the court which is in consonance with the National Sports Code.
"Although there were some problems but ultimately everyone agreed," he said and pointed that he is seeking indulgence of the court on two issues which include direction for circulation of draft constitution among members.
The second issue is that after the draft constitution is adopted in the general body meeting on November 10, there may be litigations with regard to the objections to the amendments and would eventually delay the proposed election for the executive body on December 10.
"We need directions that no other court should entertain any petitions with regard to the draft constitution or the election as it would ultimately delay the process. Only this court should hear any such petitions, if filed," Mehta said.
The bench agreed with the submissions of Mehta and said that it would pass directions to that effect.
On October 10, the top court had approved the timeline for amendment of the draft constitution of the IOA and its elections, as agreed in the meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 27.
It had approved holding the executive committee polls of IOA on December 3, as a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board was scheduled to be held on December 5.
On September 22, in a bid to ensure a fair and development-oriented approach for the future of the Olympics in India, the top court had appointed Justice (retd) Rao for amending the IOA constitution and preparing its electoral college.
The IOC had on September 8 issued a final warning to 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, 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.
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.
Last December, the IOA formed a six-member committee to look at the amendments to be made to its constitution before holding elections to align it with the National Sports Code.
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.
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