Sports Ministry suspends Paralympic Committee of India for violating Sports Code
Suspensions come after PCI was unable to conduct election on time.
On February 3, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) faced suspension by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports due to serious flaws in their election process. The reason for this action was that the PCI declared elections nearly two months after the previous Executive Committee’s term ended, which breached both their constitution and the Sports Code.
Despite this expectation, the PCI planned the next elections for March 28th, 2024. This timing decision, occurring almost two months after the end of the previous committee, violates both the existing constitutional rules of the PCI and the general Sports Code, leading to the Ministry’s action.
“Whereas the PCI was well aware of the fact that the term of the Executive Committee was only up to 31.01.2024, its decision to hold the election on 28.03.2024 is willful, intentional and without any valid reason. Such failure undermines the democratic process and the principles of good governance as mandated under the National Sports Development Code of India.
“Compliance with the Sports Code is imperative to ensure transparent and democratic governance in Indian Sports in a legally sound framework, at par with the other National Sports Federations,” the sports ministry said in a statement.
The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), which is the National Sports Federation (NSF) for Para-sports in India, held its last elections in September 2019. However, because of legal issues, the results were not announced until January 31, 2020, which marked the completion of the four-year term of the Executive Committee.
The Sports Ministry highlighted that the PCI’s choice to hold elections on March 28, 2024, contravenes both its constitution and the Sports Code, which requires elections at least one month before the expiry of office bearers’ terms. The deliberate delay in the conduct of elections resulted in the suspension.
According to the government circular and the Sports Code, failure to hold elections as specified in the constitution or non-adherence to government guidelines are reasons for suspension. The Ministry stressed the importance of maintaining good governance and accountability standards in sports federations.
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Taking into account the deliberate delay by the PCI and the need to follow the Sports Code, the Government has suspended the recognition of PCI with immediate effect until further orders. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been instructed to coordinate with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to form an Ad Hoc Committee. This committee will supervise the operations of the PCI and conduct fair, free, and transparent elections in line with the Sports Code.
The suspension impacts the PCI’s role as both an NPC (National Paralympic Committee) and an NSF for certain disciplines. The Ad Hoc Committee is expected to protect the interests of Indian para-sportspersons and para-sports disciplines during this interim period.
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