In what could be a major setback to the Navy-dominated Yachting Association of India (YAI) on the eve of its elections, the Delhi high court, through an interim order on Tuesday, put the brakes on the national body’s poll process, directing it not to proceed with the counting of ballot or opening the ballot boxes.Justice Sudarshan Kumar Mishra, taking cognisance of the petition filed by member clubs and life members of the YAI, who felt that the association was not being run as per the model code for good governance as laid down in the government’s Sports Code, passed the order, directing the national body to "not commence counting of votes cast or declare the result of the election till further orders".
Violation of norms
A clutch of petitioners had gone to court against the YAI for not holding fresh elections for its various posts of office bearers, which was in violation of the model election guidelines stipulated in the Sports Code.
The YAI office-bearers continued to hold their posts despite their four-year term, which commenced in 2008, concluding in November last.
The petitioners, through their lawyer Rahul Mehra, contested that this was in violation of the YAI’s own constitution as also the government’s Sports Code.
When finally the YAI decided to hold elections --- they are slated for Wednesday (July 17) --- the petitioners said there was again a serious breach of the model Sports Code for good governance.
For one, no notice was served for convening the AGM; the elections were being held through postal ballot whereas the model code of conduct requires holding polls by having the voters present themselves at the AGM for casting their votes; and there was no public notice of an electoral college.
Change of plan
Mehra, in his petition, said that the YAI had initially planned to hold its AGM and elections on the same day in February this year, “which obviously would have meant casting of ballot in person by the voters. However, the YAI, after filing of the petition, changed its mind thereafter, and decided to conduct the elections not at an AGM and through secret ballot but by postal ballot”.
Mehra also cited a previous order pertaining to the Archery Association of India (AAI), whereby the national sports body was directed to hold elections in accordance with the Sports Code in 2012.
The next date of hearing is September 26.