SC directs for fresh polls in AAI, relieves Quraishi

SC directs for fresh polls in AAI, relieves Quraishi

Quaraishi's amendments to AAI's constitution declared non-existent
Elections to the AAI held on Dec 22, 2018 also illegal
Fresh polls to be held within four weeks
Elected body to continue as committee of administrator till fresh polls
Newly-elected body to bring proposals for further amendment to the constitution to bring it in line with the National Sports Code

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed for holding of fresh polls within four weeks to the office-bearers of Archery Association of India, after declaring as illegal the amendments brought into the constitution of the sports body by a court-appointed administrator, former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi relieved Quaraishi of the charge, saying, “all steps taken by the administrator on the basis his constitution, and the elections conducted on December 22, 2018, are null and void and non est in law”.

The move by Quaraishi to bring in fresh amendments into the constitution in line with the BCCI judgement of the apex court, like barring public servants, and going beyond the National Sports Code, was assailed by Maharashtra and Kerala State Archery Association, among others.

It was contended that his “unilateral and unauthorised actions” were not in line with the apex court's order of December 4, 2017, and have caused “serious prejudice” by depriving the existing association members of participating in the election process.

The Union government, as well as Indian Olympic Association, also said the administrator’s constitution was in violation of the Sports Code and the constitution of the World Archery.

The issue of polls in the AAI and appointment of the administrator before the top court have arisen out of the Delhi High Court's orders of August 10, 2017, on a writ petition filed by sports enthusiast, AAP leader and advocate Rahul Mehta, who sought transparency in governance and functioning of the sports body.

Agreeing to the petitioners' contentions, the court said, “indisputably, the additional amendments incorporated by the administrator have resulted in denial of the right to represent in and contest elections of the AAI for the existing members.”

The court said the administrator could not have gone beyond the scope of December 4, 2017 order that stated the election of office bearers of the AAI should be held as per the rules and regulations, adopted by the general council, and three persons may be bestowed the title of honorary life president, without voting rights, in recognition of their services.

Noting that Quaraishi did not seek any permission of the apex court, the bench said the steps taken by him were, however, under a mistaken belief that he had the authority to proceed in the manner that he did. “It is not a case of defiance or disobedience of the court’s order as such,” the bench said.