Supreme Court appoints former Judge L Nageswara Rao for conducting IOA elections

The former judge "would ensure a fair and development-oriented approach to the future of the Olympics in the country," said the bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud.

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The Supreme Court of India
The SC wants retired Justice Rao to complete the IOA election process by December 2022, as required by the IOC.

The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed former apex court judge Justice L Nageswara Rao to amend the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and prepare the electoral college for elections to the sporting body.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said the former judge "would ensure a fair and development-oriented approach for the future of the Olympics in the country."

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The court asked Justice Rao to prepare a road map for amending the constitution and holding elections by December 15, 2022.

After hearing all the parties, the court also gave its permission to Rajeev Mehta, who is currently the secretary general of IOA, and Adille Sumariwalla, vice-president of IOA, to participate in the September 27 meeting with the International Olympic Committee at Laussane, Switzerland.

"All logistical arrangements shall be made available to Justice Rao by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and to be reimbursed by IOA," the bench said while asking the IOA to deposit Rs 10 lakh with the ministry for logistics.

In a letter dated September 8, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had issued a final warning to IOA to resolve its governance issues and hold elections by December, failing which the world sports body will ban India.

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Senior advocate Rahul Mehra who was appearing in person before the bench said that if necessary steps are not taken at this point of time, then a FIFA ban like situation will arise.

The court was hearing an appeal against a Delhi High Court judgment of August 16, directing appointment of a Committee of Administrators (CoA) comprising former Supreme Court judge Justice Anil R Dave, former Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi, and former foreign secretary Vikas Swarup.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the IOA, told the bench that status quo should be maintained. "If there is any change in the status quo, it would disrupt logistics."

At this, Justice Chandrachud said, "Let it be a good-faith effort to reform the process. Otherwise, like in football, we will have to interfere."

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Senior advocate Shyam Divan, also appearing for the IOA, submitted that the current office-bearers should be allowed to attend the Lausanne meeting.

This was objected by Mehra, who said these same set of people go everywhere so there should be someone neutral at this meeting.

After hearing all sides, the court ordered that Secretary General Rajeev Mehta and Executive Committee Member Adille Sumariwala should attend the IOC meeting as IOA representatives.

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