Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) elections, scheduled for November 25, are set to be deferred even after the appointment of Anil Dev Singh as head of the election commission (EC).
Singh, former chief justice of Rajasthan high court, has replaced SY Qureshi, who resigned as the panel chief.
Even though the IOA acting president VK Malhotra acted swiftly on Monday to announce the appointment of Justice Singh, he failed to intimate the returning officer Justice (retd.) VK Bali till the time of going to press. “I am yet to hear it officially. Unless I get an intimation from the IOA office, we can’t hold a fresh meeting to decide on the issue of scrutiny or elections,” Justice Bali told DNA on Monday.
Asked if it meant that the elections could be postponed, Justice Bali agreed: “This will be decided by all the three panelists. But in my opinion, there would be a new date for elections as we are already running three days behind in scrutiny of nomination papers. So, when the three of us sit together and decide the new date, it will be final for sure.”
The other member of the panel is Justice (retd) JD Kapur. However, Justice Bali indicated that if he received an intimation late on Monday evening, the scrutiny would be done on Tuesday.
Justice Singh’s appointment was necessitated after former Chief Election Commissioner of India Qureshi resigned protesting against the fresh directives from International Olympic Committee (IOC) asking IOA not to follow the government’s new Sports Code and only adhere to the Olympic Charter and the IOA constitution in the conduct of the elections.
Meanwhile, in his reply to IOC, Malhotra has argued that the IOA was simply following the Delhi high court directives.
“While (the) IOC is insisting that its charter and (the) IOA constitution are paramount, the government of India has formulated a Sports Code and it wants that (the) IOA and (the) National Sports Federations (NSFs) should follow that code. The sports ministry has threatened that in case of non-compliance of the Sports Code, it will withdraw its recognition to the concerned NSFs and even the IOA,” Malhotra stated in his letter.
Malhotra wrote that the Delhi high court had directed the IOA that it should follow the Sports Code while conducting the elections. “Defying the orders will lead to contempt of court,” he added.