In a letter, the ministry stated that it decided to withdraw its observer, SK Mendiratta from the poll process on the instruction of the High Court, which today said IHF was the solely representative of the national game in the country and HI was a private body.
"The government election observer's presence at the Annual General Meeting of HI, which is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, does not in any manner reflect government's endorsement of the election process or its outcome. However, in deference to Honourable High Court's directives, the government has decided not to depute the government election observer to oversee the elections," the letter signed by Joint Secretary Injeti Srinivas said.
The government has also taken note that during the scrutiny of nominations for the election, HI took a stand that they were not bound by the government guidelines relating to age and tenure limits.
"The government is of the view that every National Sports Federation is fully bound by the government guidelines for it to function as an NSF and perform the public function of selecting the national team and deputing it for participation in international competitions," the letter said.
"In the present situation with two recognised NSFs in place for the promotion of hockey in India, only one of which namely HI, enjoying the required support of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the government will comply the directions of the High Court to obtain the co-operation of IHF and IOA and any other body that may have been set up to resolve the matter in the best interest of hockey in the country," the letter added.
The Sports Ministry's decision came after the Delhi High Court, earlier in the day, asked the government not to associate itself with the elections as HI was a private body.
The High Court said IHF is the sole recognised body for the game in the country as it had already quashed the government's notification for de-recognition of the KPS Gill-led sports federation.
The High Court had on May 21 set aside the Centre's decision to de-recognise IHF and the Indian Olympic [ Images ] Association's (IOA) de-affiliation of the federation.