Sports ministry suspends Paralympic Committee of India over sports code violation
NEW DELHI — The sports ministry has suspended the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), headed by Deepa Malik, over a delay in conducting the elections for its executive committee and called the delay in elections “wilful and intentional”.
The last elections of PCI were held in September 2019 but due to order passed by the Delhi High Court in W.P. No. 10647/2019 staying the notification of election dated 03.09,2019 and the Returning Officer was also restrained from declaring the result of the elections. As such, the results of election were not declared.
The Delhi High Court vide order dated 27.01.2020 allowed the declaration of results of the election notified on 03.09.2019 subject to the further orders to be passed in the said petition.
In pursuance of the above order of Delhi High Court, the Returning Officer declared the results of election on 31.01.2020. So, four year term of the Executive Committee of PCI has ended on 31.01.2024.
The elections for electing new Executive Committee should have been held before the expiry of the term of the previous Executive Committee. However, PCI has vide notice dated 22.01.2024 announced that the elections will be held on 28.03.2024 at Bengaluru, which indicates a substantial gap of almost two months after the expiry of the term of the previous Executive Committee.
“…whereas the PCI was well aware of the fact that the term of the Executive Committee was only up to 31.01.2024, its decision to hold the election on 28.03.2024 is willful, intentional and without any valid reason. Such failure undermines the democratic process and the principles of good governance as mandated under the National Sports Development Code of India. Compliance with the Sports Code is imperative to ensure transparent and democratic governance in Indian Sports in a legally sound framework, at par with the other,” the ministry wrote in its suspension order on Saturday.
“Whereas taking note of the intentional delay by the PCI in the conduct of the election to elect a new executive committee, vis a vis the essentiality of upholding good governance and accountability standards in sports federations nationwide and the requirements of all the NSFs, NOC, NPC to adhere strictly to the Sports Code, the Government is left with no choice but to suspend the recognition of PCI with immediate effect till further orders,” it added.
The Ministry also directed the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to coordinate with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to form an Ad Hoc Committee comprising eminent administrators and sportspersons to undertake these tasks performed by PCI to safeguard the interests of the Indian para-sportspersons and the para-sports disciplines, who will oversee the operations of the PCI, and conduct free, fair and transparent elections as per the extant instructions under the Sports Code along with the constitution of the PCI.
According to Sports Ministry, elections to elect new office bearers in IOA and NSFs shall be conducted at least one month before the expiry of the term of the office bearers.