IOA Election Process Begins; Poll on December 10, Nominations to be Filed From November 25

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The process for holding the delayed elections of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) began on Wednesday with the returning officer issuing the notification for the polls to choose executive council members, including the president.

Aspiring candidates for the December 10 polls can file their nomination papers from November 25 to 27 in person while they can withdraw their names from December 1-3.

The deadline for receiving the names of the electoral college from the affiliated member units has been set for November 20, according to the notification issued by returning officer Umesh Sinha, the former secretary general of the Election Commission of India.

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On December 10, prior to the elections, the IOA will ratify the incorporation of sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOMs) into the General Assembly. The SOMs will be selected by the newly-elected Athletes Commission of the IOA. The results will be declared on the same day of the elections.

The IOA on November 10 adopted its draft constitution framed under the supervision of the Supreme Court and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but several members said they were forced into doing it after the apex court made it mandatory.

During the IOA’s Special General Body Meeting, some members raised objections to at least half a dozen amendments contained in the draft constitution, and said “the democratic rights of the General Body has been completely taken away”.

Faced with the threat of suspension from the IOC if elections are not held by December, coupled with the directives of the Supreme Court, the IOA had no other alternative but to bring changes to its constitution.

The draft constitution was prepared by the SC-appointed retired apex court judge L Nageswara Rao and the IOC has already given its approval to it. The SC has approved the holding of IOA elections on December 10.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court directed that its earlier orders of on adoption of a new constitution and polling for electing an executive committee of the IOA shall be scrupulously followed.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala recorded the submission of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that the IOA constitution, as drafted by Justice (retd) LN Rao, has been adopted at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Indian Olympic body and any amendments to it will be done only with the express permission of the court.

The draft constitution provides for equal representation of male and female members in the IOA General Assembly which will be made up of two representatives each — one male and one female — of the national federations whose sports are included in the programme of Olympic/Asian/Commonwealth Games, IOC members in India, two representatives of the Athletes’ Commission — one male and one female — and eight representatives — four male and four female — who are sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOM). Each member will have one vote.

The IOA elections were due in December last year but could not be held owing to a pending case in the Delhi High Court where a petition was filed, seeking amendment in its constitution before holding elections to align it with the National Sports Code.

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