Anil Khanna rejects Narinder Batra’s claims on presidency, tells members his continuation will be in contempt of court

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Senior IOA vice president Anil Khanna on Thursday categorically rejected Narinder Batra’s claim that he is still the chief of the apex sports body, saying his continuation in the top job will be a contempt of court.

Veteran sports administrator Batra was on Wednesday removed as Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president after the Delhi High Court struck down the position of ‘Life Member’ in Hockey India, courtesy which he had contested and won the apex body’s elections back in 2017.

Khanna took over as acting chief after HC order.

However, Batra said he “did not contest the election for either president FIH or president IOA by virtue of holding any post that was struck down by the order of the Hon’ble High Court”.

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“I currently continue to serve the IOA as President, till such time new elections are held,” Batra said in his message to members, a claim that was promptly rejected by Khanna.

“As per this (Delhi High Court) order, Mr. Batra’s term as President of IOA has come to an end with immediate effect on 25th May 2022.

“Mr. Batra in a WhatsApp message today to the members has claimed that he is not holding the position of IOA President by virtue of his being a Life Member of the Hockey India. This is an incorrect statement,” Khanna wrote in an e-mail to the IOA members.

“As per IOA Constitution and Election Bye Laws, representatives nominated by each voting unit must be members of the Executive Bodies of such units to be part of the Electoral College. Mr. Batra was part of the Electoral College in 2017 and his name appeared in S.no 43 of the Electoral College,” Khanna wrote in an email to members.

Khanna pointed out that Batra has used his position as Life Member of Hockey India to be in the Electoral College and, therefore, as per the Order of the court he ceases to be the president of IOA.

“In 2017, Mr. Batra ceased to be President of Hockey India and was not a member of the Executive Committee of Hockey India. Mr. Batra was a Life Member of Hockey India as per para 2.1.1.3 of Hockey India Constitution and it was in this capacity as Life Member of Hockey India, that his name was included in the Electoral College of Indian Olympic Association.

“The Order of the Hon’ble High Court is, therefore, abundantly clear that the illegal post of Life Member cannot be the stepping stone for any other position or benefit elsewhere, be it nationally (including in the Indian Olympic Association) or in International bodies.” The Delhi HC ruled that the position of Life Member and Life President were “illegal” since they were not in consonance with the National Sports Code and installed a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the day-to-day affairs of Hockey India.

Khanna said, “In this critical time, IOA as an Institution has to start conducting itself with due respect to the orders of the Hon’ble High Court, Law of the Land and National Sports Code.
“It should be our endeavour to be compliant. Mr. Batra’s claim is once again challenging the order of the Hon’ble High Court and the Constitution of IOA. This may tantamount to Contempt of Court.” A top IOA source told PTI: “If Mr Batra does not accept that he is no longer IOA president and object to senior vice president taking charge as acting president as per IOA constitution, somebody in the IOA will have to go to court to enforce the order.” Khanna also said that he is now the only eligible candidate to run the affairs of IOA, with the other senior vice president R K Anand already past the age of 70.

“This leaves only me as the eligible senior vice president to fill the vacancy.” Khanna, the former president of All India Tennis Association (AITA), henceforth also asked all the IOA members to take instructions only from him or secretary general Rajeev Mehta.

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