Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday said his ministry will file an affidavit before the Delhi High Court, seeking a revocation of the stay order on the appointment of a panel to review the controversial Draft National Sports Code 2017. On November 26, the Sports Ministry had formed a 13-member committee with former Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) Mukundakam Sharma as chairman to review the controversial code after it was rejected by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). Other members of the panel included Gagan Narang, Bhaichung Bhutia, Pulella Gopichand, Anju Bobby George, Ajay Singh, Sudhanshu Mittal, Adille Sumariwala and representatives of the IOA and Sports Ministry.
"The High Court was not properly briefed, that is why this ruling has come. I have told the secretary to file another affidavit," Rijiju said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a function to announce actor Sunil Shetty as the brand ambassador of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA). While staying the Sports Ministry's order, the High Court had said there was no need to "reinvent the wheel" as it will only delay the process of finalising the draft code which has been available with the ministry since 2017. The HC passed the order while hearing a petition by lawyer Rahul Mehra. Rijiju also took a swipe at Mehra, saying, "Those people who don't know about sports, they are bent on spoiling sports, this cannot be accepted." Asked who he was referring to, Rijiju said, "Some independent members of the society, how can we make comments against the court?"
The revised draft proposes drastic changes in the 2011 Code, including barring of ministers, members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies and government servants from holding office in the IOA and NSFs, tenure restrictions and age cap of 70 years. The draft also widens its scope to all office-bearers and board members of the IOA and NSFs. It also calls on the NSFs to appoint CEOs, Nominee Directors and an Ombudsman. Besides, an eminent athlete is also required to be a part of the NSFs. All NSFs will also have to constitute an athlete's commission. If implemented, the IOA and the NSFs will have six months to amend their constitutions as prescribed by the draft.