A three-member Committee of Administrators is to take over the Indian Olympic Association ©IOA

The New Delhi High Court has appointed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to take over the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The three members include former Supreme Court judge Anil R Dave, former chief Election Commissioner Dr. SY Quraishi and former secretary of Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup. 

Abhinav Bindra, Anju Bobby George, and Bombayla Devi Laishramare have been named consultants who will be assisting the CoA.

According to the High Court ruling, the CoA is set to be in charge of carrying out "day-to-day governance of IOA", "assist in preparation and adoption of the Constitution of IOA" and "prepare the Electoral Roll/Electoral College for the purpose of conducting the elections to the Executive Committee in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, as may be proposed."

Justices Manmohan and Najmi Waziri claimed that IOA’s "persistent recalcitrance" to comply with the National Sports Code led to the decision.

The court’s order was based on a petition by senior advocate Rahul Mehra.

"I filed my first litigation 22 years ago and it feels great that after so many years, a decision has come," Mehra told insidethegames.

"This is a win for the many voiceless sportspersons of India."

The court order has said that the "CoA would be at liberty to make all appropriate arrangements for the governance of IOA until fresh elections are held in terms of a Constitution conforming to the Sports Code and as noted hereinabove."

The CoA has been ordered to "facilitate the holding of elections and the handing over of the affairs to a democratically elected body in terms of its Constitution which will be adopted, preferably within a period of 16 weeks from the date the CoA members give their assent."

The IOA elections, due to have been held in December last year, was kept in abeyance because of this case.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had issued a letter to the IOA, asking the NOC to hold its elections in the coming weeks or risk facing suspension.

However, it remains to be seen if the IOC will be willing to wait for another 16 weeks. 

"We are fully aware of the various court decisions," the IOC told insidethegames on the latest development.

"The IOC Executive Board will be updated about the situation on the occasion of its next meeting (7 to 9 September 2022)."

The IOC had previously banned the IOA for failing to comply with its rules in the election process in 2012.

The court has also struck down the post of "Life President" after concerns over the tenure of office bearers and voting rights and said that the maximum term for Executive Committee members must be limited to three tenures as per the law of the land.

Beijing 2008 gold medallist Abhinav Bindra is among the consultants who will be assisting the CoA ©Getty Images
Beijing 2008 gold medallist Abhinav Bindra is among the consultants who will be assisting the CoA ©Getty Images

Among other things, the court also underlined the need for women administrators in IOA’s Executive Committee.

"There is every reason to acknowledge women’s significant presence in the sporting world. Sports administration is not a male preserve," the court said.

"It is a matter of record that in all its 95 years of existence the IOA has never had a woman as its President or secretary general.

"Surely women do aspire to be in significant positions in the decision-making process.

"Their presence both in the GB (general body), as well as the EC (Executive Committee) of the IOA, will lend to the fruition of their valid aspirations.

"Accordingly, women shall comprise half of the category of sportspersons with voting rights in the General Body as well as in the EC."

The order also said the Government will "suspend" the National Olympic Committee’s recognition if the "compliance is not done by IOA, within the time specified hereinabove."

"The urgency for cooperation with the CoA and onus for compliance with the Sports Code is upon the IOA," it said.

India is due to host the next IOC Session in Mumbai in 2023, while the country has also expressed interest in staging the 2036 Olympic and Paralympic Games.