Delhi High Court sets aside Praful Patel's election as AIFF president

The court has said that the AIFF elections were conducted without conforming to the National Sports Code.

In Patel's absence, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi will be oevrseeing the day to day affairs at the AIFF.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Delhi High Court, on Tuesday, set aside the election of Praful Patel as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president while ordering fresh elections within five months.

The Court has appointed an administrator, S. Y. Quraishi, to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the AIFF, conduct elections in five months and amend the constitution.

Sports activist and lawyer Rahul Mehra had filed a writ in the Delhi High Court in 2012, contesting the election process of the AIFF and other sports federations on the grounds that they did not adhere to the National Sports Code. A couple of months ago, the Archery Association of India was also asked to hold fresh elections. Now, the AIFF has been directed to do the same, in a judgement delivered on Tuesday.

Speaking to Sportstar, Rahul Mehra explained that the AIFF had "fudged elections". 

"Their (AIFF) Constitution is in violation of the National Sports Code. There are various provisions that have not been followed. There is a restrictive clause which allows only certain kinds of members to contest for the post of president and secretary," he said. 

"While you are contesting, the proposer and the seconder should be five each. So you are restricting the electoral college and ensuring that not many people can contest," the sports activist, who has filed cases against multiple federations including the BCCI and the IOA in the past, said.

"It was a fudged election because the entire executive board was initially shared from the email ID of one of the officers  — the vice-president of the AIFF — and subsequently the nominations were filed. It was just an endeavour to show that indirectly things are happening well," he said.

The petitioner said that he did not press for an earlier date of judgement after the April hearing since India was hosting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

Meanwhile the AIFF, in a press release, maintained that it conducted its elections under the supervision of a retired High Court Judge, who acted as the Returning Officer, and that the election process was as per the FIFA (International Football Federation) and AFC (Asian Football Confederation) statutes as well.

The release further stated that the AIFF “is fully compliant with all statutory regulations in terms of the Registrar of Societies Act as well as other notifications and orders of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports also confirmed and verified in the past that the AIFF’s election was in strict compliance with its Constitution and National Sports Code.

“The AIFF is not aware of the reasons of the Hon’ble Delhi High Court to pass this order. Once the AIFF receives the copy of the Order from the Hon’ble High Court, it will decide the course of action in accordance with the law.”

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