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Govt's letter of HI de-recognition (8/6/2010)
--s2h team
The President and the Secretary General,
‘Hockey India”,
Olympic Bhavan,
B-29, Qutub Institutional Area,
New Delhi.

Sub: Derecognition of ‘Hockey India’.

Sir,
I am directed to refer this Ministry’s show cause notice No.F.32-23/2008-SP-III dated 2nd August, 2010 and Hockey India’s (HI) reply dated 4th August, 210 received through E-mail on 4th August, 2010 at 11.30 PM. It is noted that HI has made following submissions for non-withdrawal of the Government recognition that was accorded up to 31.12.2010:-

(i) The conditions that prevailed at the time of grant of recognition to HI continue to exist. (ii) HI has the recognition of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and, therefore, HI alone can represent the country in international competitions. The Government recognition is no more than a ministerial act for the purpose of extending financial assistance, which HI is not seeking anymore.

(iii) HI is a Private Body because it is autonomous and independent of the Government, which should not be a cause for de-recognition.

(iv) Grant of a reasonable time frame to file a detailed reply, and opportunity of personal hearing. It has indicated that the matters relating to Government recognition of HI, the conduct of elections, and the scope of the applicability of the Government guidelines are sub-judice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India / High Court of Delhi, and hence no action may be taken pending disposal of the matter by the Courts.

3. The contentions of the HI are not legally tenable for the following reasons:-

(i) HI have themselves submitted before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in WP (C) No. 4978 of 2010 that they are Private Body, and are not amenable to Writ jurisdiction. Whereas Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Binny Ltd. vs. V. Sadasivadan, represented as (2005) 6 SCC 657, has ruled that the maintainability of Writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India depends upon the nature of functions discharged by body and even a Private Body discharging public functions of a non-discretionary nature would come within the Writ ambit. However, HI cannot get covered under this definition of a Private Body, as they have openly declared before the Court that they are beyond Writ jurisdiction. They have further asserted that their earlier claims to be the sole NSF for Hockey in India may be ignored, as they accept the Judgement dated 21.05.2010 of the Delhi High Court, and do not contest the recognition of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) as sole NSF for Hockey in India by the Government of India and/or the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). HI took a similar stand before the Returning Officer at the time of filing of nominations on 20.07.2010 when they stated that they were not bound by the Government guidelines, and were willing to be deprived of Government recognition, financial support and other disabilities. Even in the SLPs filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, HI took the stand that they were a Private Body. It is pertinent to point out here that, unlike in the case of Zee Telefilms Ltd. Vs. Union of India, represented as (2005) 4 SCC 649, in which the status of BCCI as a private body was under scrutiny, in the instant case there is adequate evidence that HI has derived its entire authority only after Government gave clearance to them for using the name of ‘Hockey India’ and to register themselves as an NSF to direct, control and regulate the sport of Hockey in India. Further, HI duly accepted the conditions attached to that recognition and also sought the clearance of the Government for holding their elections. But their subsequent refusal to abide by the Government guidelines has made them liable for derecognition.

(ii) Unlike the normal practice where NSFs are independent of the IOA, HI was registered by the IOA. HI was recognized by the Government under very compelling circumstances even though it was an ‘instantly made NSF’ that had no legitimate track record of promoting, developing and regulating the sport in India. The very fact that it was promoted by the IOA contradicts the present claim of HI of being a Private Body. However, since HI has refused to accept its public character and has failed to abide by the Government guidelines, it cannot continue to enjoy the Government recognition.

(iii) The contention of HI that the circumstances that prevailed at the time of its recognition persist even today is not found correct in the light of the Judgement of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in WP (C) No. 3713/ 2008 in which IHF has been declared as the sole NSF for Hockey in India, a point that both IOA and HI have unequivocally accepted before the Hon’ble Court. Hence, neither of them can reverse their stand at this stage, for preserving the Government recognition, without abiding by the Government guidelines. Further, the Government has today (05.08.2010) received a confirmation from the President, Indian Hockey Federation that the Government guidelines for recognition for NSFs, including the Order dated 01.05.2010 are acceptable to them. IHF have further confirmed initiation of the process for unification of Men and Women Hockey at the national level in compliance with the requirements of FIH

(iv) The other contention that Government recognition is merely a ministerial act and HI derive their monopolistic powers and privileges on the strength of the recognition granted to them by the IOA and the FIH is also untenable because as per the Government guidelines, of which the May 1st, 2010 order is an integral part, no NSF can represent the country in international fora without the Government recognition whether or not it receives Government grants.

(v) With regard to other contention that the matter is sub-judice, it may be stated that the issue of Government recognition is not sub-judice. Moreover, HI on its own has discarded the Government recognition. The Government is only making it formal now by issuing a formal order to that effect.

5. In the light of the abovementioned developments, and taking into account the 21.05.2010 Judgement of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, and the violation of Government guidelines by HI as well as open declaration by them that they are a Private Body beyond Writ jurisdiction and the Government’s regulatory powers, Government hereby withdraws with immediate effect the provisional recognition granted to ‘Hockey India’ vide letter No.F.32-23/2008-SP-III dated 10th/11th August, 2009.

Yours faithfully,
(Shankar Lal)
Under Secretary to the Government of India

Copy for information and necessary action to:-

1. The President and the Secretary General of Indian Olympic Association,
2. FIH

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