The rules of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) are in breach of the National Sports Code and Model Guidelines, the Delhi High Court has said while setting aside the election of NCP leader Praful Patel as the president of the sports body.
Patel, a former minister of civil aviation and heavy industries, was elected for a four-year term in December last year along with the Executive Committee for 2017-2020, after the high court had, as an interim measure, vacated the stay on the polls on the ground that the result could be subject to the final outcome of the issue pending before it.
The detailed order, which was pronounced on October 31, was made available on the court's website on Monday.
The court had appointed former Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi as the administrator-cum-returning officer to conduct the fresh polls to the sports body.
"The court is of the view that insofar as the Rules of the AIFF are in breach of the National Sports Code and the Model Guidelines for the conduct of elections, the results of the elections of the AIFF declared on December 21, 2016, would have to be set aside," a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Nazmi Waziri said.
It further directed that the fresh elections should be held in accordance with the Model Guidelines.
The bench said the administrator should conduct the elections by resolving the issue of disaffiliation of members/ units of AIFF as on November 30, 2016, and prepare the electoral list within a month by giving two weeks notice to the parties.
"Elections shall be held in six weeks after preparation of the electoral college. This elected body shall carry out the requisite amendments to the AIFF Constitution to bring it in conformity with the National Sports Code.
"Once the AIFF Constitution has been amended, a fresh round of elections shall be carried out in terms of the National Sports Code, to ensure that age and tenure restrictions, along with the provision for due representation of the sportspersons, are strictly complied with," it said.
The bench said till the elections are conducted and the results declared in consonance with the National Sports Code and in compliance with its directions, the AIFF should not make any new financial commitments, except with the administrator's prior approval.
The court passed the interim order on an application by the AIFF seeking vacation and modification of its December 15 last year's order staying the election process.
The AIFF's application was filed in a pending petition of advocate Rahul Mehra contending that the elections of the federation were held contrary to the National Sports Code.
The National Sports Code is a set of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in 2011 to ensure that National Sports Federations (NSFs) dependent on government funding are made accountable and transparent.
Mehra had contended that while the Code made it mandatory for each candidate to be nominated by a member association and seconded by another, the AIFF had stipulated that each candidate was to be nominated by five member associations.
On this, the court said the nominations would be required to be proposed and seconded by one member association each and with clear notice, as required by the Model Election Guidelines read with the AIFF rules.