The Commonwealth Shooting Championship, a test event for the Commonwealth Games, is in danger.
The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to stay the January 15 order of a lower court, which declared the National Rifle Association of India's (NRAI) composition invalid. The NRAI had moved the higher court seeking an immediate stay of the order in view of the Championship, scheduled from February 17-28.
Justice Reva Khetrapal, however, refused to interfere with the lower court order for the time being and adjourned the NRAI's appeal for further hearing on March 3.
Justice Khetrapal also sought the response of Raju Soni, a life member of NRAI, who had approached the lower court challenging the re-election of Digvijay Singh and Baljit Singh Sethi as president and secretary general of NRAI respectively.
The lower court had said the NRAI president and secretary general could not continue as they had flouted norms by holding on to their respective posts, despite the completion of two terms. The NRAI submitted before the High Court that an urgent injunction was essential for holding the Commonwealth Shooting Championship.
A 42-member strong team (25 men and 17 women) will represent India at the event, to be held at the Dr Karni Singh Range here. Shooters from 14 countries will be in action during the 12-day long competition, which is also a test event for the redesigned range.
In his petition, Soni had alleged that the secretary general had been in office since June 1985, continuously for six terms, and the president, elected in 1999, was still occupying the office after the completion of two terms. “The secretary general is running NRAI as his personal fiefdom and quashes any dissent,” alleged Soni.
The court noted that according to Rule 13 in the mandate of NRAI, the maximum continuous period to an office by an elected member is of two terms.
Reacting to Monday's developments, Prabir Krishn joint secretary, Sports Ministry told HT: “The government will immediately write to the Indian Olympic Association and ask them to form an ad-hoc committee for shooting. The committee will organise the Commonwealth Championship.” A dejected Sethi said: “Hoga, hoga, nahin hoga, nahin hoga, kya kar sakte hain. (If it happens, fine, if it doesn't, what can we do).”