In a new twist to the drama surrounding the national game, Sports Ministry sought clarifications from both Hockey India and Indian Hockey
Federation on how they propose to meet the government's guidelines to run the sport in the country.
The Sports Ministry issued show-cause notices to both HI and IHF, asking the two bodies to clarify as to how they meet the guidelines of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the government.
In its show-cause notice to HI, the ministry asked it to explain before Thursday's election as to why the government should not de-recognise it in the wake of the federation's declaration before Delhi High Court that it is a private body.
While in another notice to IHF, the ministry gave the KPS Gill-led body 14 days time to explain as to how it proposes to meet the FIH as well as government's guidelines if it wishes to run the sport in the country.
In the notice issued to HI president Vidya Stokes and secretary general Narinder Batra, Joint Secretary in the Ministry Injeti Srinivas said if the national federation fails to provide a satisfactory answer before its polls, the government's provisional recognition to HI will be automatically withdrawn.
"The Ministry of Sports (MoYAS) has carefully studied the orders passed by the Delhi High Courts and the Supreme Court of India and has noted that HI is holding its elections as a private body on the basis of its own set of rules and bye-laws," Srinivas said in the notice.
"In view of the private body status of the HI being accepted by the Honourable Supreme Court, you are hereby called upon to explain before the date of elections as to why the provisional recognition granted to HI by the MoYAS, shall not be withdrawn with immediate effect," the notice said.
"Failure to furnish a satisfactory reply within the time limit stated above will automatically result in withdrawal of recognition to HI as a National Sports Federation for hockey in India," it added.
The notice also states that HI had accepted before the Delhi High Court that it was not contesting with Indian Hockey Federation to run the sport in the country.
"The HI has declared itself to be a private body before the Delhi High Court and that it was not contesting the status of IHF as the sole NSF for hockey in India," it said.
Meanwhile, in a separate notice to IHF president KPS Gill, the ministry said, "In view of the Delhi High Court order it has become incumbent upon the MoYAS to seek the co-operation of IHF and others in finding the way out of the present impasse in the management of hockey in India.
"In view of the above, you are called upon to explain within 14 days as to how you propose to meet the requirements of FIH of having a unified body for both men and women at the national level so as to obtain FIH's membership and be able to discharge all the responsibilities of a recognised NSF, including representing India in international competition recognised by FIH," the notice read.
"You are also called upon to confirm your acceptance to comply with the government guidelines for recognition of NSFs, including the latest order regarding the limits on age and tenure of office bearers. In the event of not responding to this notice within the time limit, it shall be deemed that you have nothing to state on this matter," the notice added.
Incidentally, the much-awaited HI elections were postponed for the fourth time on July 28 after the Delhi and Bombay High Courts stayed the poll process.
While the Delhi High Court had stayed the polls following the failure of the Central government to clarify its legal position regarding HI and IHF, the Bombay High Court did the same on a petition filed by the Maharashtra Hockey Association.
HI, however, moved the Supreme Court against the orders and managed to vacate the stays on July 30 and obtain a green signal from the apex court to hold its elections.
Armed with the Supreme Court ruling, HI also announced that it will hold its elections, on Thursday.
The FIH had threatened to bar India from participating in international tournaments, including women World Cup in Rosario, Argentina later this month, if a democratically elected federation was not put in place by July 31.