The Archery Association of India (AAI) -- long been in a state a flux following the government’s decision to strictly implement age and tenure clause for sports administrators -- initiated a move to amend its constitution during an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
However, it has created more problems as the move hasn’t gone down well with the affiliated members. Some state units are up in arms, alleging foul play and saying that the constitution should have been amended at the general council after serving a 30-day notice, and not during an emergency meeting, which “should only deal with specific issues”.
In fact, the Punjab Archery Association chief, KS Kang, walked out of the meeting.
However, AAI secretary-general Anil Kamineni says that since the National Sports Code on age and tenure wasn’t included in the constitution, it was felt necessary to make amendments before electing new office-bearers. “The court has directed AAI to hold elections before March 31. So, the amendments are part of the process,” he said.
The AAI was derecognised by the sports ministry in 2012 as its founder member VK Malhotra failed to comply with the age and tenure guidelines during elections. He was unanimously elected president for a four-year term.
But in October 2015, Malhotra was appointed All India Council of Sport (AICS) chief and he quit as AAI president. Senior vice-president Tarlochan Singh took over as the ad-hoc president.
When the AAI did not hold elections on November 9, 2016, a PIL was filed and the association was given the deadline to complete the process before March 31.
However, instead of setting the ground for electing new office-bearers, the AAI amended its constitution. Among those who opposed the amendments was Kang. “The present setup has no right to amend the constitution as the term of office-bearers expired on November 9,” he said.
Some other state units also objected, saying that none of the proposed amendments were discussed. Kang said, “I didn’t vote as it was done without deliberations. It should have been done in a more democratic way. We were given a very short notice...I wasn’t in favour of the amendments as elections are due.”
Kamineni said that, “We had to do it as it was important before announcing the election dates. “The world governing body also wanted the anti-doping code included in the constitution. We have appointed a government observer to oversee the process.”
It’ll be interesting to see if the court agrees to the amendments.
Archery is one of the disciplines identified as a medal prospect for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But because the AAI is running on an ad-hoc basis, it wasn’t able to complete its domestic calendar for 2016 season. The junior nationals were held in February and the senior and sub junior events will be held later in March.