Delhi HC seeks response from on plea filed by Indian Hockey player

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court sought response from the Centre, Hockey India, and others over a petition filed by Olympic gold medalist Aslam Sher Khan challenging the appointment of Narendra Dhruv Batra and Elena Norman as ‘Life Member’ and ‘CEO’, respectively, having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the executive committee and the working board of the association.

The petitioner, Aslam Sher Khan, is a former Indian Hockey player who was a part of the winning team that won the gold medal in the 1975 Hockey World Cup.

Through the PIL, he stated that he is highlighting the various irregularities and illegalities in the Hockey India (National Sports Federation) Narender Batra and Elena Norman have been appointed therein as ‘Life Member’ and ‘CEO’ respectively having an unlimited tenure with full voting rights in the Executive Committee and the Working Board, in blatant violations of the provisions of the National Sports Code, 2011, and the various circulars and guidelines.

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The petitioner stated that the various acts of nepotism and favouritism of the respondents, Batra and Norman, is causing losses, financial, and otherwise to the sport.

A division bench of the High Court presided by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Central government, Hockey India, Narendra Batra and Elena Norman seeking their response over the petition and slated the matter for further hearing in the last week of September.
The plea also sought to quash certain articles of the Hockey India MOA whereby the posts of ‘Life Member’, ‘CEO’ and ‘Life President’ have been created, being in blatant contravention of the NSCI, circular 1975 and 2001 guidelines, as illegal and unsustainable.

The petition has also sought the appointment of an impartial administrator or ad-hoc committee of eminent sportspersons to administer the affairs and oversee the day to day functioning and working of the Respondent No. 2 until the MOA of the Respondent No. 2 is amended and fresh elections, in accordance with the Model Election Guidelines, under the NSCI are undertaken.

The plea said that the said articles of the Hockey India MOA are in direct and blatant violations of the National Sports Code 2011 (NSCI), Circular 1975, 2011 Guidelines passed by the Central government.

“Consequently the appointment of the Respondent No. 3 (Narendra Batra) and Respondent No. 4 (Elena Norman) to such posts of ‘Life Member’ and ‘CEO’ respectively is per se illegal and unsustainable in law and ought to be quashed,” the plea said.

The petition filed through Vansh Dalmia stated that Narendra Batra as a permanent life member in Hockey India has a permanent seat in the General House/ Congress of Hockey India with a right to vote in the AGM/ Elections of Hockey India in the capacity of an individual Life Member despite not being elected by the members of the Hockey India.

“As per the NSCI, 2011 the voting Members of an NSF can only be the State/ Union territory members of the respective NSF and the appointment of the Respondent No. 3 with an unlimited seat in the General House/ Congress of Hockey India till his death, in perpetuity is manifestly illegal and in direct contravention of the principles of good governance enshrined under the NSCI, 2011,” the plea said further.

The petitioner also sought the court’s direction to Batra and Norman to render accounts of all gratification and financial benefits received by them from the Hockey India for holding the posts from the time of their appointments until date, and refund the same to the accounts of the Hockey India.

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