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Neutral Person to be appointed, says SC in light of final IOC warning

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Neutral Person to be appointed, says SC ahead of final warning issued by the IOC

The International Olympic Committe (IOC) dealt a final warning on September 8, 2022, to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and threatened the nation’s suspension if elections were not completed by December 2022.

The threat came after the IOC observed the IOA’s lack of ability to resolve its “governance issues”. 

The IOC decided not to recognise any interim president and maintained its point of contact with the secretary general Rajeev Mehta.  

The IOA’s governance issues began with elections that were due to be held in December last year but could not be completed due to amendments in the poll process. A six-member committee was set up to ensure that the IOA constitution remained in line with the laws of India, thus furthering the election process.

The parties went over the governance issues previously in July 2022. Acting president Anil Khanna called the warning issued by the IOC to suspend the IOA for not conducting elections a premature one. He then requested a reasonable opportunity to ensure that the IOA constitution remained in line with Indian law. He further claimed that his appointment was made in accordance with the laws of India. However, the IOA failed to complete its elections, which have now been due for over nine months. 

As a result of the failure to conduct elections on the part of the IOA, the IOC warned the governing body, stating that elections must be completed before the next meeting of the Executive Committee. 

To tackle the issue, the Supreme Court on Monday heard suggestions from the Solicitor General, who stated that a retired judge needed to prepare an electoral college and conduct elections for the IOA, while a neutral person also needed to be appointed to look after the IOA’s administrative affairs.

The bench further suggested that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports converse with the IOC Director of Olympic Solidarity and NOC Relations. To facilitate such interactions, the IOC suggested a joint meeting on September 27, 2022, in Lausanne. 

Repercussions of poor governance are already on display, as the IOC session due to take place in Mumbai in May has been postponed to later in the year. A suspension looms over the IOA in case elections do not occur at the earliest this time. 

The approach to this case will be further discussed on September 22, when the apex court takes up the matter. 

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