Delhi HC Stays Volleyball Federation’s Election Over Non-Compliance of Sports Code

Volleyball Federation of India

The Delhi High Court has stayed the election process of the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) due to non-compliance with the National Sports Code. Additionally, the High Court has sought a plan from VFI and other involved parties outlining how they intend to adhere to the Sports Code.

Arjun Awardee Amit Singh has approached the High Court to suspend the VFI election process. Justice Sachin Datta has suspended the VFI election process until the next hearing, scheduled for March 21, 2024.

The High Court observed, “Despite being cautious about intervening in ongoing election processes, given the circumstances of this case, the election process initiated on January 19, 2024, is suspended until the next hearing.”

The court further remarked, “It is challenging for this Court to overlook the non-compliance with the Sports Code and the directives outlined in the August 16, 2022, judgment.”

The bench highlighted that respondents have failed to provide a clear roadmap for ensuring compliance with the directives outlined in the August 16, 2022, judgment.

The High Court has also sought a response from VFI and other respondents within two weeks. They are instructed to submit a reply outlining the roadmap for bringing the concerned NSF/VFI in line with the directives of the August 16, 2022, judgment and/or the Sports Code. The court ordered, “Let the same be filed within two weeks. Rejoinder thereto, if any, be filed within a period of one week thereafter.”

The court acknowledged the petitioner’s primary concern regarding the VFI’s activities being conducted in violation of the directives of the August 16, 2022, judgment.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra and Advocate Hemant Phalpher highlighted key aspects, including the inclusion of outstanding sportspersons with voting rights in the general body and/or executive committee of NSFs. They also emphasized the necessity of extending the directives of the August 16, 2022, judgment and the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011, to all associations affiliated with NSFs.

The High Court noted that the VFI’s constitution is non-compliant with the Sports Code and/or the August 16, 2022, judgment, as it lacks provisions for including sports persons in the general body or executive committee.

Central Government Standing counsel Anil Soni confirmed that the VFI does not comply with the mandatory stipulations outlined in the August 16, 2022, judgment.

He referred to a May 13, 2023, order from the Department of Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, appointing an ad-hoc committee to oversee the affairs of the VFI due to its non-compliant constitution.

The High Court expressed reluctance to interfere with ongoing elections but noted discrepancies in the electoral college for the current election process, as it does not align with the directives of the August 16, 2022, judgment. Additionally, the VFI’s constitution itself contradicts the mandatory directives outlined in the judgment.

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