The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Hockey India to hold elections but restrained it from acting in accordance with the results.
A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir stayed the judgments passed by the Bombay and Delhi High Court that had stopped the body from holding the elections scheduled for July 28. The Bench fixed August 19 for further hearing.
The Apex Court allowed the holding of elections after Hockey India (HI) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) contended that if elections were not held by July 31, the country would not be able to participate in international hockey events.
The Delhi High Court had on July 28 stayed the election process after the Central Government failed to clarify the legal position regarding HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
The Bombay High Court had also stayed the election for three weeks on a petition filed by the Mumbai Hockey Association.
Taking strong exception to the Joint Secretary's (Sports) submission that both HI and IHF were government recognised bodies, the court said that elections would not be allowed so long as confusion persisted.
Earlier, the Delhi HC had directed the government to dissociate itself from the elections, as HI is a private body and held that the IHF is the only recognised body for the sport in the country. The court had also directed the Centre to withdraw its observer for the HI elections.
HI, which has the recognition of the international hockey federation (FIH), has to complete elections by July 31, failing which India would be barred from international tournaments. HI said the Apex Court green signal “is a slap in the face of those who are constantly creating problems in the conduct of its polls”.
“We knew it was just a matter of time to get the stay orders vacated. It was bound to happen. It is a fitting reply to those people who don't want the elections to take place,” a HI official said. He said HI would now conduct elections as soon as possible to avoid further glitches.