Hockey goes the football way, Delhi High Court appoints CoA | Hockey News – Times of India

CoA appointed; Narinder Batra removed as IOA president, senior VP Anil Khanna is acting chief
NEW DELHI: A week after the appointment of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) in football, the Narinder Batra-controlled Hockey India (HI) also took the same direction on Wednesday. The two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court appointed a three-member CoA to run day-to-day affairs of HI after observing that the national sports federation (NSF) has violated the provisions of the sports code, 2011.
The bench of Justices Najmi Wajiri and Swarana Kanta Sharma ruled out that the appointment of Batra as ‘life member’ and Australian Elena Norman as ‘CEO’ were unconstitutional and illegitimate under the sports code. The ruling came on the petition filed by Olympian Aslam Sher Khan — a member of the Indian team that won the 1975 Hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur — who had alleged that HI violated the sports code by creating posts like ‘life member’, ‘life president’ and ‘CEO’ to benefit Batra and Norman.

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The court-appointed committee will be headed by former Supreme Court judge AR Dave, and will have former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi and former India captain Zafar Iqbal as its members. The committee has been directed to immediately take over the reins of HI.
“In football, it is the restoration of a democratically elected body that is our main task as mandated by the SC. We still have to see the order regarding hockey and then plan the way forward,” said Quraishi.
Batra resigns as IOA president
Soon after the court’s verdict, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Batra resigned from his position as the head of the country’s Olympic committee. Later, the IOA’s current executive body announced that it has removed Batra as the NOC’s chief following the court’s order and appointed IOA’s senior vice president Anil Khanna as the interim head. Batra had filed his nomination for the IOA president’s post as a life member representing HI, sources said.
Batra’s removal means that his membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will also come to an end, as the position was linked to his presidency.
Batra, who is the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), wrote while resigning: “At a time when world hockey is going through an essential development phase, with the promotion of Hockey5s, the creation of a new competition this year – the FIH Hockey Nations Cup – and the launch of fan-engaging platforms and activities, my role as president of the FIH requires more time for all these activities.”
Batra is a former secretary general and president of HI, and has headed the IOA since December 2017. Recently, the Central Bureau of Investigation had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against him for using HI funds for personal interests. It was alleged by IOA treasurer Anandeshwar Panday that a sum of Rs 36. 19 lakh was spent to upgrade Batra’s office space in the IOA building.

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Court’s Judgment
In its judgment, the bench noted: “What a paradox, to make oneself permanent in an entity whose tenure itself is impermanent. The illegal Post of Life President or Life Member cannot be the stepping-stone for any other position or benefit elsewhere, be it nationally (including in the Indian Olympic Association) or in international bodies. If R-3 has so benefitted, then such benefit or position shall end right away. Let the CoA look into the matter, so would the Government of India.”
Making a reference to the Supreme Court case pertaining to All India Football Federation (AIFF), the bench ordered: “. . . . it would be in the public interest that its affairs be put in the hands of a CoA as has been directed by the SC on 18th May 2022, in the case of another NSF in AIFF. The administrative setup of R-2 (HI) is erroneously or illegally constituted because of the Life President and Life Members. The posts of Life President, Life Member in the NSF are illegal, so is the post of CEO in the Managing Committee. These posts are struckdown. The Government of India cannot grant recognition to a NSF whose constitution is not in consonance with the sports code.”
It’s to be noted that all consequential posts that Batra got in lieu of his life membership of HI will be looked at by the COA. If he has benefited from them, that may have to go as well as decided by the CoA. Also, all expenses incurred by a life member/ president of HI will be looked at and recovered from Batra. But no recoveries will be done from Elena, as she’s a contractual employee.
At present, there are 4 NSFs which are under CoA’s rule –– AIFF, Hockey India, TTFI and Karate federation.

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