In a significant development, the Sports Ministry has suspended the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) with immediate effect, citing violations related to the delay in conducting elections and non-compliance with established guidelines. The suspension order, issued by the Sports Ministry, highlighted the failure of the PCI to hold timely elections for the new Executive Committee, contravening both its own constitution and the Sports Code.
The last elections, held in September 2019, faced legal challenges, and it wasn’t until 31st January 2020 that the results were declared following a court order.
According to the Sports Ministry statement shared by news agency ANI, the term of the Executive Committee, which officially ended on 31st January 2024, should have triggered prompt arrangements for fresh elections. However, the PCI’s decision to schedule the elections on 28th March 2024, nearly two months after the committee’s term expiry, was deemed a violation of both its constitution and the Sports Code.
The Paralympic Committee of India has been suspended by the Sports Ministry. pic.twitter.com/qKnQfoSyjt
— ANI (@ANI) February 3, 2024
The Sports Ministry, in its circular dated 10th February 2015, directed all National Sports Federations (NSFs) to conduct elections at least one month before the expiry of the term of office bearers. The PCI’s deviation from this directive, along with the intentional delay in election proceedings, led to the suspension.
The Ministry’s statement emphasised, “Such failure undermines the democratic process and the principles of good governance as mandated under the National Sports Development Code of India.”
Quoting the grounds for suspension outlined in the Sports Code, the Ministry pointed out that failure to hold elections as prescribed in the constitution of the NSF or non-compliance with government guidelines could lead to suspension or withdrawal of recognition.
In response to the delay by the PCI, the government deemed it necessary to suspend the recognition of the PCI, emphasising the importance of upholding good governance and accountability standards in sports federations.
As a consequence of the suspension, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been directed to collaborate with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to form an Ad Hoc Committee. This committee will comprise eminent administrators and sportspersons tasked with overseeing PCI’s operations and conducting free, fair, and transparent elections in adherence to the Sports Code and PCI’s constitution.
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