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Supreme Court appoints Committee of Administrators to run AIFF

Published at :May 18, 2022 at 11:07 PM
Modified at :May 20, 2022 at 10:34 PM
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Riddhiman Sarkar

The decision follows Bhaskar Ganguly's letter to the CJI requesting him to expedite the elections for the apex body.

In the most recent development to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) case, the Supreme Court has appointed a Committee of Administrators (COA) consisting of Justice Anil R Dave (Retired Supreme Court Judge), Dr. SY Qureshi (former Chief Election Commissioner of India), Bhaskar Ganguly (former captain of the Indian football team) to take charge of the AIFF’s administration as an interim measure.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha noted that the consequence of the order of stay was that the body had continued to govern the administration, despite its expired tenure. In this aspect, we have to recall that the maximum tenure is 12 years and AIFF president Praful Patel has long exceeded the same. In doing so, he has violated the National Sports Code, as per the Sports Ministry’s affidavit submitted in April. The body had stated the same in response to the Special Leave Petition filed by the AIFF that made mention of them being unable to conduct elections due to a pending review of its proposed new constitution.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by the All India Football Federation challenging the Delhi High Court order staying the fresh elections of the committee. In addition to this, the bench of judges also reviewed an intervention application. Headed by Chief Justice Ramana, the bench also included Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, as they looked into the plea of the Delhi Football Club, alleging that the AIFF committee is continuing illegally.

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan appearing for the AIFF submitted that a constitution maybe made and an election conducted as per the new constitution.

However, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appearing in person stated that this is nothing but an exercise to derail the process. "Two administrators are already there and one retired judge of the Supreme Court may be appointed and everything comes before the Court, in furtherance to which, the Court may decide what needs to be there," he said.

To which, the bench responded, “The Committee of Administrators (ombudsman) has prepared a constitution, we'll accept their IA and let the constitution be placed here, and then if anybody has any objection they can tell us so that we can modify some clause.”

Mehra, however, proposed that, “In the meantime, there is a body that is already there, it's not something that FIFA or some other international body will de-recognize you, first you have to put your house in order. The gentleman is continuing his position. Milords may place somebody of Milords' confidence for 5-6 months”.

The bench has directed that the constitution which was asked to be placed in a sealed cover should now be open for circulation, whereas, any suggestion or objection shall only be brought before and dealt with in court.

Additionally, the judges noted that it is expected that the election will be swiftly conducted once the constitution of the AIFF has been finalized.

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