Cracking the whip on the practice of many politicians monopolising sports bodies, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to immediately implement its policy fixing the age limit and tenures of National Sports Federation chiefs.
The sports ministry had on May 1 come out with guidelines under which the upper age limit was fixed at 70 years and the head of a sporting body was allowed to continue in that post for a maximum of three terms, that is 12 years.
On Tuesday, a high court Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan turned down a plea by five federations seeking a stay on that policy. “We are not inclined to stay the guidelines,” said the court.
The petitioners were the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Badminton, Archery, Rifle, Swimming and Athletics associations.
The high court order means that IOA president Suresh Kalmadi and several others like him — such as Archery Association of India (AAI) president Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Badminton Association of India (BAI) president V.K. Verma — will not be able to seek re-election.
The sports ministry told the court the regulations had been brought about to encourage "professional management, good governance and transparency".
Sports minister MS Gill expressed happiness at the court direction, calling it a "Diwali gift" for the youth and the sportspersons of the country.
Additional Solicitor General AS Chandiok, appearing for the ministry, told the court the regulations had been issued after amending g uidelines framed on September 20, 1975.
But the sports federations argued that since the 1975 guidelines had been withdrawn, there was no way it could be amended. They federations argued that the regulations were "per se arbitrary" and infringed on their autonomy.