AIFF Election Row: Supreme Court mandates change in constitution

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Acting on AIFF's plea to stay the Delhi High Court decision to set aside Praful Patel's election, the Supreme Court has come up with a decision..

The Supreme Court of India is expected to temporarily put the Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in charge of the Indian FA. The Apex Court was acting on a Special Leave Petition by the Indian FA seeking a stay on the Delhi High Court's decision on October 31st to set aside the election of AIFF President Praful Patel as it violated the National Sports Code. 

The Supreme Court is expected to announce their decision in the next 24-to-72 hours.

The Hight Court had also appointed former Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr. SY Quraishi as the makeshift administrator of AIFF and ordered that new elections had to be conducted within five months.

However, the Supreme Court bench ruling effectively means Praful Patel remains in power but needs to toe the directive by the court which wants the constitution of the AIFF altered to be in line with the National Sports Code. 

Earlier, several reports had suggested that the Supreme Court had rejected AIFF's petition on the matter. However, it is now known that it is not the case.

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The whole issue came about after a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) was filed by sports activist Rahul Mehra last year, following the AIFF elections where Praful Patel was re-elected to his office for the third time in a row. Mehra claimed that the Indian FA had disregarded several provisions of Sports Code during the electoral process.

Praful Patel AIFF President

The Supreme Court is also expected to appoint a former India international footballer to oversee and expedite its orders. It is learnt that Mehra had advocated the names of former India skippers Bhaskar Ganguly and Manoranjan Bhattacharya but AIFF had suggested the name of former striker IM Vijayan. The final call on the matter rests with the court.

Speaking to Goal earlier, Mehra had said, "There were numerous violations in Praful Patel's election. They not only did not follow the sports code but their constitution itself had restricted clauses. The court had more or less agreed with and upheld almost all of my arguments concerning the violation of the code, the constitutional provisions being restricted and there were variants between the constitution of the AIFF and the code. They were trying to come out with the argument that they are following FIFA guidelines and that they are not bound by the code as was rejected in the earlier matters also."

"My argument was that the election was a farce. It was not democratically held. It was basically a diktat from the top that these are the people that we have chosen and you have to make have to make sure that they are selected unanimously. That mail had been circulated to all the executive and various members of the state associations. Therefore, it is just a hoax and not an election."

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