Status of Indian Olympic Association
What is the status of the Indian Olympic Association? Is it a private body or a government body? How are people given life time membership to the Association ? Is it governed by any rules or regulations?
If you ask about the current status of the Indian Olympic association, you would find out that recently Kalmadi and Chautala (both of whom are former Presidents of the IOA) were made lifetime Presidents of the IOA which was never on the agenda of the meeting, while Kalmadi chose to not accept the post due to charges framed against him, the centre reacted to it by banning IOA until the announcement is taken back. To answer the question about whether it is a private or a government body, we need to look at the constitution of the IOA and the statutes that govern it.
The IOA is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and is the apex body for all sports bodies and federations in India. Under this act, Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of Indian Olympic Association was signed which continues to govern the society to this date. The Memorandum talks about the objects for which the society is registered, one of them being:
“To enforce all rules and regulations of the International Olympic Committee and the Indian Olympic Association and not to indulge in or associate with any activity which is in contradiction with the Olympic Charter. To follow, observe and uphold the primacy and domination of the Olympic Charter in case of any contradiction between it and the rules, bye-laws and the constitution framed by the Indian Olympic Association.”
The above statement suggests that the IOA is bound to do what the IOC demands it to do rather than the government demanding it, which means that it is not a governmental body but rather a private entity. However, we need to see whether the IOA falls under the Union List or Concurrent list if the government needs to have control over it. The questioned was dealt by the Delhi High Court in the case of Indian Olympic Association v. Union of India the Year 2014 where it was held that it falls under entry 97 of the Union List in Schedule VII of the Constitution. The Court stressed on idea that the drafters never saw that such a private entity would rise to such global importance and hence, the Court quoted Jawaharlal Nehru while justifying that the IOC fell under Entry 97 of the Union List.
We think that residuary powers should remain with the Centre. In view however of the exhaustive nature of the three lists draw up by us, the residuary subjects could only relate to matters which, while they may claim recognition in the future, are not at present identifiable and cannot therefore be included now in the lists.”
Hence, IOA is bound to follow the rules laid down by the Union of India too while it complying with the Olympics standards is the main objective. It is bound to follow the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 and Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of Indian Olympic Association. There is no sort of lifetime membership in the IOA and only life Presidents are nominated, every President of the IOA has been made life President and this is nothing more than an honorary post because a life President doesn’t have the right to vote. The Memorandum state :
At the General Assembly of the IOA, the House may nominate up to three persons who have rendered unique and distinguished service for the cause of the Olympic movement in the country as Life President. Such Life Presidents shall hold office during their lifetime. The Life President shall be invited to the General Assembly meeting of the IOA. The Life President shall have no right to cast his vote at the Annual General or Special General meetings of the IOA.
As far as the current controversy is concerned, the Committee will deliberate over the nomination of Kalmadi and Chautala while it stays banned. It must be kept in mind that to be a life President, one must not be a member. So, even if someone is not fit to be a member, he/she could still be nominated to be the life President. However, it should still adhere to what the Memorandum states.
1. Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of Indian Olympic Association.
2. Societies Registration Act, 1860.
3. Constitution of India, 1950.
4. Indian Olympic Association v. Union of India (LAWS (DLH)-2014- 5-318) (High
Court of Delhi)
Research by - Ashwini Parmar, Lawfarm Team
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