HC reserves order on Kalmadi's Olympics visit

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today reserved its order for tomorrow on a plea to restrain sacked CWG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi from going to London to attend the 2012 Olympics.

"The order on the interim application is reserved for tomorrow," said a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri after hearing two-hour-long argument on lawyer Rahul Mehra's plea against Kalmadi's proposed visit to London for the sporting extravaganza.

"I'm not going to attend meetings in London on behalf of either the Government of India or any Indian sports body. I'm not carrying the badge of Indian representative in the Olympics," Kalmadi's counsel Mukul Rohatgi told the bench.

Suresh Kalmadi. AFP

"I'm the president of Asian Athletes Association (AAA) and have been invited by International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF), a foreign body which is not before this court," argued the senior counsel adding that his client Kalmadi's fundamental right to travel cannot be curtailed when he is assuring the court that he is going there on behalf of AAA.

"What heavens will fall if some friend of mine gives me a ticket or I myself purchase a ticket and go there to watch a sporting event...? This application is motivated and directed against me," Rohatgi said.

In reply to a query by the bench as to how Kalmadi became the AAA president, Rohatgi said the sports administrator was elected president of Athletic Federation of India in 2001 and became the AAA president the same year and as a consequence he has been invited by IAAF.

"It seems even the foreign sporting bodies have the Indian tradition of electing members in perpetuity," Justice Sikri remarked.

At the end of the hearing, Rohatgi assured the court that Kalmadi will not watch any sporting event even as an invitee of IAAF, but he cannot be stopped from travelling and watching a game in his individual capacity.

Mehra who filed the application opposing Kalmadi's London visit as the part of another related petition, started the argument with a claim that Kalmadi can be and should be prohibited from going to London as his visit was not a personal one.

"India is one of the members of AAA, which has 44 other members and Kalmadi being the president of AAA cannot claim that he will not represent India there," Mehra said.

He also referred to various provisions of the Constitution of AAA and IAAF to drive home his point that on moral and ethical values, Kalmadi can be and should be restrained from attending London Olympics.

The court on 18 July had sought Kalmadi's reply on Mehra's plea for restraining him from going to London for the 2012 Olympics and had asked him not to advance his slated 26 July departure for it.

On 13 July, a special CBI court had allowed Kalmadi to go to London from 26 July  to 13 August for the 2012 London Olympics.

Mehra has objected to Kalmadi's proposed London sojourn, contending that he is going to attend the games on public money and in violation of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) code of ethics.

He had sought the high court's direction to restrain Kalmadi from going to London on the ground that he is facing trial in a corruption case and cannot be allowed to represent the country in an international event.

The Lok Sabha MP and 10 others have been charge-sheeted by the CBI under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly "illegally" awarding a contract to install Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to Swiss Timing, causing a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.

PTI