Supreme Court hearing in AIFF case: SC lists matter for Monday, asks Centre to take proactive role in facilitating lifting of ban

The AIFF case was listed as the first item on the Court’s board on August 17.

The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The AIFF case was listed as the first item on the Court’s board on August 17.

Here are the highlights of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the AIFF case. The All India Football Federation has been suspended by FIFA “due to undue influence by third parties”.

RELATED: FIFA bans AIFF: Centre accepts FIFA demands in SC application to end CoA mandate

HIGHLIGHTS

“The case has been adjourned to August 22. Centre says it is ‘trying to break the ice’ with FIFA for removal of the ban and permission to host the (U17 Women’s) World Cup,” reports our legal correspondent Krishnadas Rajagopal.

- SC: Matter to be listed on Monday on Mehta’s request. We request the Union of India to take proactive measures to ensure holding of the women’s U17 world cup and lifting the suspension on AIFF so the objective is duly achieved.

- SC: Government of India is in active discussions with FIFA and stakeholders in order to hold the women’s U-17 World Cup in India. The meeting happened yesterday and discussions are ongoing. Mr. Gopal Sakaranarayanan for CoA has also joined in the submission.

- Mehta: “If someone is interfering, they should not interfere. Apart from government and prestige of the country, I represent no one else. If someone is interfering, then Court should come down heavily on them.”

- Justice DY Chandrachud on the U17 Women’s World Cup in India: “The country should have this event and it is really good for the U-17 athletes.“

- Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra: “Some members of AIFF had stepped down and CoA took over and these members are orchestrating all of this. It is Mr (Praful) Patel who has orchestrated this. They should step down from the FIFA body.”

- Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says: “Considering several factors about what can be done, Centre has taken it up as an issue. We took it up with FIFA. CoA also played a key role and there is some breaking of the ice which has taken place... Our discussion is going on and this matter can be heard on Monday.”

The Centre on Tuesday made an urgent request in the Supreme Court for an early hearing even as reports emerged that FIFA has suspended the All India Football Federation (AIFF), leaving the prospects of India hosting the Under-17 Women’s World Cup in October bleak.

“There have been some developments,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud.

Mr. Mehta said FIFA has sent a communication but did not reveal the contents of the letter, which he said was already in the public domain.

Justice Chandrachud, after checking with the court staff, said the AIFF case was anyway listed as the first item on the court’s board on August 17. The judge assured that it would be taken up and heard.

Mr. Mehta said he would, in the meantime, share the FIFA letter with the court.

FIFA, in a statement, has cited “undue influence from third parties” as the reason for AIFF’s suspension.

The apex court had appointed a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to govern the AIFF following an order on May 18 in which it was observed that the continuance of the executive committee of the AIFF beyond its four-year term was “not in the interest of the proper governance of the Federation”.

On August 11, the Supreme Court had allowed a request made by the Sports Ministry for an opportunity to calm the troubled waters within the AIFF by meeting with its Committee of Administrators and FIFA.

But the Bench had made it a point to remind that it wanted India to host the World Cup and the Court would assert every authority under its command to make it happen.

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The sharp remarks from the Bench came while hearing a contempt petition filed by the CoA, which had complained that AIFF’s former president, Praful Patel, and some of the States’ football associations were moving “indirectly” to thwart the Supreme Court’s interim order on August 3 to conduct elections to the federation and finalise the AIFF’s Constitution in time for the World Cup.

“You want to sort it out among yourselves, we have no difficulty because we want the World Cup to be held here… and should it come to it we will assert our authority without any exception,” Justice Chandrachud had addressed the lawyers for AIFF, States associations, the Ministry and other parties in the case.

Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh, for the Ministry, had on August 11 informed the court that a meeting was held the previous day with the FIFA officials. Mr. Singh had then said a further meeting was scheduled among FIFA, the CoA and the Ministry.

“All the counsel appearing for every contesting party without exception said it will be desirable if the matter is sorted out amicably,” Justice Chandrachud had observed.

ALSO READ: Unfortunate when efforts were being made to put Indian Football back on the track: CoA Chairman after FIFA bans AIFF

On August 3, the Supreme Court had passed an interim order to the AIFF to hold and conclude elections to its executive committee as expeditiously as possible. The court had agreed to a 27-day time election schedule prepared by the CoA. According to this schedule, the results of the election would be declared on August 28 or 29.

The court had ordered that the election should be conducted in a manner consistent with the provisions of Article 26 of the draft Constitution prepared by the CoA which prescribes the limits and conditions of eligibility for candidates.

The court had also agreed with the CoA’s proposal that 36 eminent players who represent prominent football players’ community should be part of the electoral college with right to vote in the AIFF polls.

- Krishnadas Rajagopal

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