Hockey India (HI) may have got just a provisional go-ahead to conduct its July 28 election, but the ad-hoc body is in no mood to abide by the government's tenure and age guidelines, as specified in the Sports Ministry's conditional "No-objection", for its polls.
Though the tenure guidelines will be applicable for the HI elections since it is going for polls for the first time, the ad-hoc committee-supported panel has nominated the 83-year-old Vidya Stokes as its presidential candidate.
This is despite the government guidelines specifying that no office bearer of any National Sports Federation (NSF) can be above 70 years.
Anticipating such a move from the ad-hoc committee, government observer, S.K. Mendiratta, on Monday wrote to returning officer, Justice R.C. Chopra.
In the latter he asked him to remind secretary, Narinder Batra, to take a declaration regarding the age qualification from all candidates contesting for the president, secretary and treasurer's post.
"As the conditional 'No Objection' to Hockey India for conducting their elections has been given by MYAS (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports) subject to the fulfillment of those Policy Guidelines, it now becomes incumbent on Hockey India to duly observe and implement the said Policy Guidelines in the conduct of their current elections of Office Bearers," said Mendiratta in his letter to the returning officer.
Stokes hit back saying HI was not bound by any government guidelines.
She also informed the returning officers that the polls should be conducted according to the Constitution of the association.
"We are not in agreement with the views as expressed in the said letter as we are a Society formed under the Society's Registration Act, 1860.
We hereby submit that the aforesaid restrictions are not binding or applicable to our Society, which is governed by its own Constitution, Rules, Regulations and Bye-Laws," Stokes wrote in a letter to Justice Chopra.
Olympian Pargat Singh is challenging Stokes for the president's post.
The HI elections have become more important since the Delhi High Court has already revoked the suspension of the KPS Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation.
If Stokes gets elected on July 28, Hockey India will be the second National Sports Federation after the Badminton Association of India to disregard the government guidelines while electing the president.