The Delhi High Court has issued various directions for conducting the elections to the various posts of the office bearers of the Equestrian Federation of India.

The Court has also appointed Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Retd.) to assume the responsibilities of Election Officer/ Returning Officer.

“…this Court is of the considered opinion that, the Elections to EFI have to be held so as to ensure that a democratically elected body is in place.”, Justice Tushar Rao Gedela observed before passing directions.

The Court directed that the EFI would permit all the State /Union Territories Associations to cast their votes (two) after fulfilling all the requisite criteria and in any case not unduly prevent them from casting votes, subject to their eligibility to be decided by the Election Officer/Returning Officer.

It also added that the EFI shall permit 25% of the vote share of the electoral college to the Eminent Sports Persons to cast their votes in accordance with the Sports Code. The Court said that no Institutions/Individuals would have any right to cast votes.

The Court further directed that in order to carry out the aforesaid exercise and determine the Electoral College Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Retd.) shall assume the responsibilities of Election Officer/ Returning Officer, at the earliest, so as to ensure election process could be initiated without any further loss of time.

“Take over the charge as an Election Officer and receive all the necessary assistance from EFI as also the Ministry…… Draw up a suitable Election Notice and Schedule, for Elections of EFI as soon as the Electoral College is determined; Conduct the elections for Executive Committee and Selection Committee of EFI”, the Court directed.

The Court also said that Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Retd.) can take assistance of any person, including S Y Quaraishi, the Observer, who is requested to render all or any assistance sought.

The Court passed these directions on the applications filed by the EFI seeking to hold its elections for its executive and selection committees.

Senior Advocate Rajiv Dutta appeared for petitioners whereas Senior Advocate R. Bala Subramaniam appeared for Union of India. Senior Advocate Jayant Mehta appeared for EFI.

On perusing a roadmap formulated by EFI the Court noted that there were many aspects which needed to be complied with by the EFI in order to gain recognition of the Ministry as a National Sports Federation.

Unfortunately, no steps in that regard have been urged to have been undertaken or completed till date.”, the Court observed.

The Court added that “Despite having failed to fall in line with the Sports Code, the EFI instead of fulfilling its obligations under the Roadmap of the year 2017, changed its narrative from the year 2019 onwards and sought to dilute the rigours of the Code by portraying itself as an expensive, exclusive and club based sport which needs a separate identification and different treatment as an NSF.”

Cause Title- Rajasthan Equestrian Association v. Shri SPS Tomar

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