The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday yet again sought to dilute International Olympic Committee's directive to bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections and instead decided to refer such cases to the Ethics Commission of the IOA to take a decision.
The IOA, in a special General Body Meeting in New Delhi, proposed to refer the cases of those persons against whom charges have been framed for offences that carry punishment of a jail term of more than two years to a nine-member Ethics Commission.
"Where the charges have been framed by any court in India, in respect of an offence which is of serious nature under the Indian Penal Code/Prevention of Corruption Act, in which the punishment of imprisonment of more than 2 years is prescribed, then the member/office bearer/member of the Executive Council of the IOA, the case will then be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission for further guidance," the amendment made by the special GBM said.
"Any member of IOA whose conduct/behaviour compromised with IOC Ethics and the Olympic Charter shall be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission for further guidance."
There would, however, be no bar to contest elections on persons against whom charges have been framed for offences, which carry a jail term of less than than two years.
"There will be no bar on persons in such cases. Under People's Representation Act, such persons cannot be barred from contesting elections," a top IOA official said.
However, any IOA member convicted for a serious offence will be removed and not be allowed to contest elections till three years after the completion of the sentence.
"On conviction of an offence which is of serious nature under Indian Penal Code/Prevention of Corruption Act, the Executive Council Members/Office Bearers and all members of IOA shall resign immediately and if not they will be excluded and will not be allowed to contest in elections of the Executive Council/Office Bearers of IOA till three years after completion of sentence and the case will be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission," the IOA said.
The IOA said "where a case is referred to the Ethics Commission for further guidance, on completion of conviction with a three year cooling off period after conviction, then the Ethics Commission will take a considered view on the status of the person and his/her rights within IOA".
The Ethics Commission will have four retired judges of High Court in Justices Bhagwati Prasad, B K Nehru, Usha Mehra, R S Sodhi. The other five members are former athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, retired Army officer B S Suhag, reired bureaucrats Balraj Singh and D Sarangi and Athletics Federation of India senior vice-president W I Davaram.
The IOA, however, rejected the IOC's directive to apply the age limit clause (of 70-year cap) to all officials or Executive Council members and instead proposed to restrict it to the president, secretary general and treasurer.
"India is the largest democracy with over 1.20 billion. We need representation from all across and all sections of people ... Hence, the age limit as per IOC Charter will apply only on three office bearers namely the president, secretary general and treasurer and not on any other officer/Executive Council Members of IOA and the House regretfully reject the suggestion given by IOC," a resolution passed by the GBM said.
Regarding the tenure limit, an IOA official said that the matter was not discussed in the GBM as the IOC "has already agreed to IOA's proposal to restrict its application to president, secretary general and treasurer only".
The special GBM also decided to send an IOA delegation to the IOA headquarters in Lausanne in Switzerland, which will include IOC member in India, Randhir Singh as one of the members.
Randhir, who addressed a press conference after the meeting along with other officials, accepted to be part of an IOA delegation to take up the matter with the IOC.
"The House unanimously agreed to all the amendments. The IOC member in India also supported all the amendments and he has also agreed to be part of an IOA delegation to take up the matter with the IOC," senior IOA official S Reghunathan who chaired the meeting attended by around 150 members.