Equestrian Federation of India running out of time and excuses

The other contentious appointment was that of Lt. Gen. M. K. S. Yadav, as the vice-president (admin), to run the affairs of the EFI till elections were held.

A rider on the move during a club activity in Chennai. (REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE)   -  R. Ragu

Having repeatedly refused to set its house in order, the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) is fast running out of time and excuses.

Following the recent Delhi High Court dismissing the EFI’s twin-plea, the governing body is bracing up to face further embarrassment when the case comes up for hearing on September 24.

Notwithstanding the reluctance of the EFI to comply with the 2011 National Sports Development Code, it has been battling court cases challenging its governance and election of office-bearers.

The EFI's questionable practice of appointing the current Quartermaster-General (QMG) as the EFI president saw Lt. Gen. R. Gopal hold the post the day he was made a member of the EFI, last September.

On retirement, as the QMG on May 31, 2020, he resigned immediately as the EFI president.

When Lt. Gen. S. S. Mishra took over as the new QMG, he was made a member of the EFI, on 17 May, 2020 and nominated as the President in June.

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The other contentious appointment was that of Lt. Gen. M. K. S. Yadav, as the vice-president (admin), to run the affairs of the EFI till elections were held.

Last month, the Rajasthan Equestrian Association (REA) moved the Delhi High Court challenging these nominations. The Court, in its order dated July 20, 2020, restrained the two nominated members from acting in the interim capacity.

The REA also argued that these nominations were based entirely on the ranks in the army and therefore detrimental to equestrian sport in the country. The REA requested the Court to form an ad-hoc committee to run the EFI until elections.

The REA president Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod insisted on the EFI complying with the Sports Code, for the much-needed order to return to the country’s equestrian sport.

The EFI challenged the order of July 20 on the ground that the appointments were made with the consent of Dr. S. Y. Quraishi, the observer appointed by the Court. It was further argued that these appointments were only an interim measure to run the federation.

In response to EFI’s plea to vacate the order of July 20 or allow it to hold elections, within 60 days, for nine posts, including the president and vice-president (admin), the Court posted the case for September 24. Maintaining status quo, the Court allowed the respondents three weeks to reply and two weeks, for the rejoinder, if any.

Seven other EFI posts due to fall vacant are vice-president (Sports Development), one each for eventing, tent pegging, endurance besides a regional member's post from west, east and north-east.