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HC Revives IHF, Quashes Its De-Recognition By Centre & IOA

The Delhi High Court on Friday  revived the Indian Hockey Federation which was de-recognised and disaffiliated by the Centre and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in 2008 after its secretary K Jothikumaran was caught on
PTI May 21, 2010 20:40 IST
PTI
The Delhi High Court on Friday  revived the Indian Hockey Federation which was de-recognised and disaffiliated by the Centre and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in 2008 after its secretary K Jothikumaran was caught on camera in a sting operation accepting bribe to select a player.

Paving the way for reinstatement of former cop KPS Gill as the head of the sporting body, the Court rejected the plea of Centre that revival of IHF would result in a "chaotic" situation as Hockey India had already been formed and Commonwealth Games is round the corner.

"It would be unfair to the Federation, which has succeeded in showing that both the orders of disaffiliation and consequent de-recognition are wholly illegal, to be denied relief for over two years on the ground that such order might jeopardise India's participation in a sporting event," Justice S Muralidhar said.

"It is not as if IHF's term is about to expire or that chaos would result with its revival. The Commonwealth Games are still a few months away. It will be for the MYAS (Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports) to decide how best to go about the matter," the court said.

The court set aside the Centre's decision to de-recognise IHF and the IOA's disaffiliation of the federation, noting that proper procedure was not followed by them to take such punitive action and sporting body was not given chance to refute allegations levelled against it.

 "The decision dated 28th April 2008 of the IOA placing the IHF under suspension and the decision dated 10th May 2009 of the IOA disaffiliating the IHF are hereby quashed.

"The decision dated 12th May 2008 passed by the Ministry temporarily withdrawing the recognition of the IHF and the subsequent order dated 10th/11th August 2009 passed by the Ministry de-recognising the IHF are also hereby quashed," the court said.

The Court passed the order on a petition filed by the Federation through its chief Gill challenging the decision of Centre and IOA to disband it.

Justice  Muralidhar pointed out that government and IOA must give show cause notice to sporting bodies before taking punitive action against them and it was not followed in case of IHF.

"Any disaffiliation of an NSF has to be mandatorily preceded by a show cause notice to the NSF sought to be disaffiliated. Admittedly, no such show cause notice was er issued to the IHF prior to its suspension," the court said.

While there may be justification in insisting that IHF should take corrective action with regard to the allegations concerning the conduct of one of its office bearers, that cannot be the reason for placing the IHF itself under suspension," the court said.

The Court pulled up the Centre for not explaining the basis on which Hockey India was recognised and for being indifferent to the functioning of IHF.

"This Court finds that the MYAS has been largely indifferent to what has been happening with the IHF and has left the entire control to be taken over by the IOA," the court said adding "it must be pointed out that despite the order of this Court, the MYAS has not explained on what basis it granted recognition to Hockey India".

The Gill-led IHF was disbanded in April 2008 after Jothikumaran was caught on camera accepting bribe to select a player.

The IOA then replaced IHF with a five-member ad hoc committee and subsequently set up Hockey India which is struggling to conduct its election due to legal hurdles and affiliation tangles.

Hockey India in fact missed the first deadline set by International Hockey Federation (FIH) and they now have to conduct their election by the end of this month. PTI