The Delhi High Court has accepted public interest litigation, challenging the lifetime presidentships in the All India Tennis Association. The national governing body for tennis has SN Krishna, Yashwant Sinha, and Anil Khanna as unelected life presidents.
The Bench of the Delhi High Court Chief Justice has issued notices to the concerned parties on the plea filed by Siddharth Sikri. Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Pradeep Rai has submitted that AITA is in violation of the National Sports Code.
The case will come up for hearing on January 28 next year.
The National Sports Development Code 2011 model election guidelines advise all national sports federations to have seven office bearers – a president, two vice-presidents, one general secretary, one treasurer, and two joint secretaries, in addition to 5 executive members. There is no position for a life president. AITA has three.
Petitioner, according to a report published by India Legal, has relied on the 2018 Delhi HC judgment in Mahipal Singh & Ors vs Union of India wherein it was observed on the point of lifetime presidentship in the Kabaddi Federation of India case.
“The Model Election Guidelines annexed to the NSCI and constituting a part thereof clearly set out the officers who would constitute Office Bearers of the NSF,” the petitioner has stated. The office bearers list has no position for a life president, which has been allegedly carved out by an “illegal” amendment.
Counsel for respondent was not allowed to argue at this stage as the Bench observed that “without issuing notice we can’t hear you. Do you want to teach me, before issuing a notice we hear you?”
The petition argues several irregularities, like unelected lifetime presidentship of Anil Khanna without professionally having earned a name in tennis sport, construction of a multi-storeyed building on forest land and subletting the same to private entities, as office space instead of using the same for developing skills by installing indoor training equipment.
The petition has also prayed for an investigation into the affairs of AITA and DLTA including siphoning of funds by several members, besides seeking directions of fresh election for the constitution of a Managing Committee.
It also seeks the return of remuneration received and money spent by Life Presidents for holding posts illegally and cancellation of all rent agreements contrary to law.