Faced with the threat of de-recognition from the Sports Ministry, the Athletics Federation of India on Sunday removed a contentious clause from its constitution and called for re-election to three top posts next month.
The AFI took the decision to delete Clause XIV(b)(1) of its constitution, which required candidates for the posts of president and secretary to be an existing member of the Executive Committee, in a Special General Body Meeting in New Delhi.
“The Special GBM voted to delete the clause altogether and now anybody can contest elections provided his name is proposed or seconded by the required number of members as required under the constitution,” Adille Sumariwala, who was elected as president in the AFI elections held in March last year, said.
“There will no longer be the requirement that the candidate should have been an existing Executive Committee member,” he added.
AFI polls were held in March last year but the Sports Ministry refused to recognise the president and secretary who were elected under the contentious clause. The Ministry also rejected the election of the treasurer on the ground that the person did not get No Objection Certificate from his public sector employers.
The ministry had, on December 11, directed the AFI to amend its constitution and hold re-elections within two months or by February 28 at the latest for the post of president, secretary and treasurer or face de-recognition.
The decision to delete the contentious clause was, however, not unanimous as some members dissented as they felt the clause was required.
“It was not a unanimous decision. Some members dissented and wanted to retain the clause. Their contention was that to become president or secretary, the candidate should have the experience of the functioning of AFI and should know about athletics. They argued that now anybody who does not have any knowledge of athletics can fight for elections,” an official, who attended the meeting, said.
“But the GBM voted to delete the clause with two-third majority, which is required for passing a resolution,” the official added.
The GBM also took the decision to hold the re-elections to the three posts tentatively on February 24.
“A tentative date has been fixed. The re-elections will be held on February 24 unless some major issues force to change the date,” Sumariwala said.
Sumariwala said that the notification for the election process will be issued in the next few days. A 21-day period is required for the polls from the date of notification.
“We are going to issue a notification to announce the date of nomination, withdrawal, scrutiny and the appointment of returning officer, etc,” he said.
The GBM also finalised the calendar for 2013 and discuss about the preparations for third the leg of the Asian Grand Prix to be held in Chennai on May 8, besides the hosting of the Asian Athletics Championships, also to be held from July 3-7 in Chennai.