HC’s fiat dashes Kalmadi’s hope to seek re-election in IOA

New Delhi: Controversial IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi was virtually barred from seeking his re-election as the sports body president with the Delhi High Court ordering today holding the polls for it strictly under the sports code that bars a person from seeking fourth term in the office.

The National Sports Development Code provides that a person, who has been the president of a sports body for 12 years (one term lasts four years) or has turned 70, will not be able to contest again.

Kalmadi, 68, who has been at the helm of IOA affairs for over last 18 years, cannot contest if the sports body follows the code in the election for its office bearers, scheduled to be held in October-November this year.

“The Indian Olympic Association is to hold the elections observing the National Sports Development Code,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

The court’s order came on a PIL by lawyer Rahul Mehra, who sought judicial intervention to rid the sports bodies of the country of various alleged maladies.

During the hearing, Mehra said the polls for various posts of IOA is likely to be held in October this year and there was every likelihood that administrators like Kalmadi may flout the code to get re-elected.

The court, which was hearing a batch of applications filed by lawyer Rahul Mehra on the issue, has now fixed the matter for hearing on October 15.

On another plea, alleging irregularities in the election for the office bearers of Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on April 14, the court asked the Union Sports ministry to take a “reasoned” decision within six weeks after considering the submissions of the lawyer and the AFI.

The court said measures like de-recognition of AFI may also be taken if the allegations of flouting of the Code is found to be correct.

The court, meanwhile, would hear tomorrow Mehra’s another plea for a direction to the Archery Association of India (AAI) to hold election for its office bearers on September 29 in accordance with the sports code.

The AAI is yet to file its reply. BJP leader V K Malhotra is presently holding the post of AAI president.

On March 21 this year, the high court had warned Kalmadi to either quit as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president or face the court’s action against him.

The court had issued similar warnings to two other IOA officials Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma, who are facing trial in the CWG-related graft cases along with Kalmadi.

Kalmadi had quit as IOA president after he was arrested on April 25, 2011 in the case, but he resumed the office after securing bail.