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High Court squashes IOA's order of IHF dissolution (5/21/2010)
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High Court squashes IOA's order of IHF dissolution

Delhi High Court quashed the Indian Olympic Association's order of dissolving Indian Hockey Federation headed by KPS Gill.

Then IHF president KPS Gill went to court after the IOA dissolved the IHF in the aftermath of Chile Olympic Qualifier.

It is also gathered that both the IOA and the Union Sports Ministry which approved the IOS's dissolution, have been penalized with the penalty of Rs. 10,000 each.

Of course there is provision for the other party to appeal this judgment in higher courts.

This development has both academic interest (in veiw of Government's age and tenure criteria), as well as topical since so much water has flowed down the lanes of IHF and its replacement Hockey India.

As per new guidelines, the key officials of IHF have already served more than 12 years or above the age of 70, the two criteria being in vogue after the recent order by the Union Sports Ministry.

Operative portion of Delhi High Court Order

..... This Court cannot be presented with a fait accompli when the IOA and the MYAS knew fully well that this petition involving the legality of their actions vis-à-vis the IHF was pending consideration. 73. Indeed whenever this Court considered passing an interim order, it was informed by the Respondents that some major international event is round the corner and therefore, this Court should refrain from passing orders till such time the event was not concluded. This was the reason why this petition was not taken up for final hearing till such time the Men?s Hockey World Cup 2010 was not concluded. However, that does not mean that every time there is some sporting event involving hockey in the offing, the present petition has to be adjourned. It would be unfair to the Petitioner, which has succeeded in showing that both the orders of disaffiliation and consequent de-recognition are wholly illegal, to be denied relief for over two years on the ground that such order might jeopardize India?s participation in a sporting event.

74. There is merit in the apprehension expressed by learned counsel for the petitioner that if the suspension is not lifted and the parties are required to go through the motions of a show cause notice followed by a hearing, it might reduce the requirement of complying with the principles of natural justice to an empty formality. The very same reasons being put forth now might be used by the Respondents not to lift the suspension of the IHF. This Court is of the considered view that the status quo ante the impugned orders should be restored as far as the petitioner is concerned.

75. This Court is conscious that in Narinder Batra v. Union of India occasion to consider the binding effect of the Guidelines framed by the MYAS. A number of directions were issued including one requiring the MYAS to undertake a detailed enquiry into the working of the IHF. Although the said judgment in Narinder Batra is under appeal, no stay has been granted by the Division Bench. There was, therefore, an opportunity for the MYAS to have undertaken an enquiry into the working of the IHF and then issued, if necessary, a show cause notice listing out the irregularities, if any, detected during such enquiry and elicited the response of the IHF. That would have enabled the MYAS to avoid the charge of arbitrariness as is now being laid at its doorstep. Unfortunately, for over two years now the petitioner IHF has continued to remain under an illegal suspension, followed by an illegal disaffiliation and an illegal de-recognition. This situation calls for a restitutive correction.

76. This court believes that even now it is not too late for the MYAS to get its act together and set things in order with the cooperation of both the IHF and the IOA and any other body that may have been set up. Instead of again panicking about the revival of the IHF, it requires to be seen how the interests of hockey in India can be best served. Sports bodies have to have a degree of autonomy with the government playing the role of an effective regulator. They must be allowed to function in a democratic manner with persons really interested in developing the game participating in its affairs. The knee-jerk reaction to losses at international events, which are inevitable in competitive events, and looking for persons to blame, cannot be conducive to a healthy development of any national sport. For a proper enquiry into the problems besetting Indian hockey the cloud of ‚Äěsuspension? over the IHF should be lifted. The past should be put behind and a new beginning made. The submission made by Mr. Harish Malhotra that IHF's suspension should continue is accordingly rejected.

77. For the aforementioned reasons the decision dated 28th April 2008 of the IOA placing the IHF under suspension and the decision dated 10th May 2009 of the IOA disaffiliating the IHF are hereby quashed. The decision dated 12th May 2008 passed by the MYAS temporarily withdrawing the recognition of the IHF and the subsequent order dated 10th/11th August 2009 passed by the MYAS derecognizing the IHF are also hereby quashed. 78. The writ petition is allowed with costs of Rs. 20,000/- of which Rs. 10,000/- each will be paid by Respondents 1 and 2 to the Petitioner within a period of four weeks from today. All the pending applications stand disposed of. High Court squashes IOA's order of IHF dissolution

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