No intention to control sports bodies: Himachal minister

    By IANS,

    Shimla : The Himachal Pradesh government asserted Wednesday that it has no intention to take control of sports organisations.

    The announcement comes a day after the Himachal Pradesh High Court indicted the state government for forcible eviction of Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, led by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, from the picturesque international cricket stadium in Dharamsala.

    “The government is committed to promotion of sports activities and maintains the true spirit and sanctity of sports,” Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said in a statement.

    He said the government did not believe in interfering with the affairs of sports organisations. “But it’s their duty to ensure that these worked in a fair and democratic manner,” the minister said.

    Ordering status quo ante with respect to the cabinet decision taking over the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) properties in the state, a division bench of Chief Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice Kuldip Singh directed restoration of their possession to the HPCA.

    The interim order comes on a writ petition filed by the HPCA, opposing the government decision on the ground that it was not given proper opportunity to be heard before the decision was taken.

    “The orders of forcible dispossession are against law, constitutional guarantee and obligations of the state to its citizens as a person in settled possession of a premises cannot be dispossessed by executive fiat, even though he can be stated to be a trespasser,” the bench observed.

    Agnihotri clarified that the government had no intention whatsoever of taking control of sports organisations. Its objective was to facilitate them and ensure that these worked transparently and democratically, as per rules and regulations.

    “At the same time, the government wants to ensure that sports bodies do not become private property of any individual or their vested interests,” he said.

    The affairs of the HPCA, he said, were in controversy for quite some time and there were numerous complaints against its functioning and these were being looked into independently by different agencies.

    The Dharamsala stadium and its residential complex were taken over by the government along with other HPCA properties in a midnight swoop Oct 26, over alleged irregularities in the association.

    “The restoration of status quo ante is no impediment for the government to proceed with the legal remedies and the opinion is only prima facie, and for considering the grant of interim relief only,” the judges said.

    The court will now hear the matter Nov 28.