A relieved Hockey India (HI) on Friday said the Supreme Court's green signal to its elections is a slap in the face of those who are constantly creating problems in the conduct of its much-awaited polls.
Vacating the stay orders of the Bombay and the Delhi High Courts, the Supreme Court on Friday allowed HI to hold its elections, which was postponed on Wednesday for the fourth consecutive time. However, the apex court had asked the national federation not to implement the results.
"We knew it was just matter of time to get the stay orders vacated. It was bound to happen. It is a fitting reply to those people who don't want the elections to take place," a HI official said.
"But it was our responsibility to get the elections done as soon as possible, otherwise India faces the risk of sanction from the International Hockey Federation (FIH)," he said.
The official said HI will now conduct the elections as soon as possible to avoid any further glitches.
"The election is on. We will now inform all the representatives of the state bodies. We are expecting to get it done within 4 to 5 days because we will have to make all the arrangements once again," he said.
"We have already informed FIH about the Supreme Court's order. We will also send a copy of the order to FIH as soon as we receive it," the official added.
Earlier in the day, HI got a shot in the arm when a bench comprising Justices Altmas Kabir and A K Patnaik vacated the stay orders of the Bombay and the Delhi High Court after the federation had moved the apex court.
The Supreme Court allowed the holding of elections after both HI and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) contended that if the elections are not held by July 31, the country would be barred from participating in international events.
The elections of HI were postponed for the fourth time in a row on Wednesday when the Delhi High Court had put a stay on the process following the government's failure to clarify its legal position regarding HI and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
If that was not enough, the Bombay High Court had also stayed the HI elections for three weeks on a petition filed by Mumbai Hockey Association.
The recent postponement also did not go down well with the world body, with its vice-president Antonio von Ondarza, who is also FIH's observer for the polls, issuing a veiled threat of imposing sanctions on India if a democratically elected federation was not put in place at the earliest.