HC stays elections to state handball association
Jalandhar The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday stayed the elections of Punjab Handball Association scheduled for September 29. Seven district handball associations, including Jalandhar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Rupnagar, Mohali and Amritsar had filed the petition for this through their counsel, Rehmat Grewal. The bench of justice Gurvinder Singh Gill has fixed the next hearing on November 19.
The petitioners told the court that Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu and Amanbir Singh Sidhu, the present president and general secretary of the state handball association, respectively, had unilaterally announced these elections without taking the Punjab sports department and them into confidence.
A former IAS officer, Sidhu is son-in-law of Akali veteran and Rajya Sabha MP, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa; Amanbir is a close relative of former state finance minister and MLA Parminder Singh Dhindsa. Parminder is son of Sukhdev.
The petitioners added that both the state sports department and the Punjab Olympics Association refused to send observers for these elections, in view of the covid-19 pandemic.
The petitioners had claimed that scheduling the election on September 29 was arbitrary, illegal, perverse and unconstitutional as on the current voter list, there were many members whose mobile numbers were either incorrect or they had given their defunct landline number. Members could not be informed on time, they added.
It was also pleaded there was no hurry for holding elections as the present executive committee elected by the petitioners and others was already performing. The office-bearers are elected for four years.
“To the knowledge of petitioners, some members of the association, as well as the department of sports, Punjab, have requested the chief minister to postpone the elections,” says the petition, also making the claim that holding elections, at this stage, would breed nepotism as no effective and transparent mechanism was in place.
“When the state sports department and the state olympic association refused to send an observer to conduct elections amid a pandemic, why are the president and the general secretary, hell-bent to conduct these? This raises doubt on the election framework,” added the petitioners.
Ludhiana Handball Association secretary Teja Singh Dhaliwal, who is one of the petitioners, said there was no democracy left in the association, which had also resulted in lowering of the state’s performance on the field. “The president and secretary, however, want to continue their monopoly and thus scheduled the elections in these times,” claimed Dhaliwal.