Supreme Court has a dig at politicians for taking hockey to 'abysmal low'

New Delhi, Dec 5 : Taking a dig at the politicians and businessmen for bringing the hockey to an "abysmal low", the Supreme Court Thursday said the sporting bodies should only be manned by sportspersons.

Wondering if the game of hockey be held hostage by the private individual, a bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice J.Chelameswar said that in the game in which India used to win gold medals, it was now struggling to even qualify for Olympics.

Describing it as a "sad commentary", the court said that game was being administered by those who had nothing to with the hockey and it was the sport that was becoming a casualty.

The strong observation by the court over the manner in which sporting bodies were being managed by the people not remotely connected with the game came during the hearing of a plea by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) seeking a halt to the proceedings by the Federation of International Hockey to ascertain whether it was Indian Hockey Federation or Hockey India that was representing Indian hockey in the international sports arena.

As the court gave vent to its disappointment over the way the sport was being managed in the country, it had a dig at the government for its failure to control sports bodies even as private individuals keep locking horns over controlling them and engage in long legal battles.

Holding that in no other country one gets to witness legal battles for controlling sports bodies, the court said: "Government is unable to control the sport societies and you (IHF and HI) keep fighting. Is there any federation which is not fighting legal battles in courts?"

Mentioning the matter, senior counsel U.U.Lalit appearing for the Indian Hockey Federation told the court that the matter relating to the recognition of the sporting body was pending before it and any proceedings by the Federation of International Hockey amounted to bypassing the top court.

Challenging the jurisdiction of Federation of International Hockey to decide whether Indian Hockey Federation or Hockey India represented Indian hockey internationally, Lalit urged the court to decide the issue as it was pending before it for some time now.

Asking both the feuding IHF and Hockey India to place their case before the panel of the Federation of International Hockey, the court said that it could not interfere with the proceedings of the international sporting body.

As the court asked Hockey India to file its response to IHF's plea within four weeks, Hockey India's senior counsel Ashok Desai told the court that it was the IHF that had taken the issue before the Federation of International Hockey and now it was opposing its proceedings.

The court directed the listing of the matter in second week of January, observing that such issues could not be allowed to be kept pending for years.

--IANS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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