Former TT player Yatharth Pandya serves legal notice to GSTTA for Kushal Sangtani’s unlawful appointment as Secretary
Intro – Kushal Sangtani was elevated as secretary without following due process as mandated by the Sports Code.
Ahmedabad: In a significant development, Yatharth Pandya, a former national-level Table Tennis player and sports activist, has issued a legal notice to the Gujarat State Table Tennis Association (GSTTA) regarding the appointment of Kushal Sangtani as Secretary without following due procedures and without prior sanction from the government.
According to the notice, the appointment led to violations of the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 (Sports Code), and other relevant guidelines. It said that the GSTTA has consistently and flagrantly violated the Sports Code, judicial pronouncements, and guidelines issued by both Central and State governments. Even as the government and courts have consistently emphasised compliance with the Sports Code for the development of sports, yet sports bodies, including GSTTA, have been slow to implement necessary changes in their governance structures.
Expressing concern about GSTTA’s governance practices, Yatharth Pandya, who is known for his commitment to sports promotion, said, “The functioning of GSTTA and its election procedures are not in alignment with the principles and rules outlined in the Sports Code. The appointment of Kushal Sangtani as Secretary, without following due process, raises serious questions about the association’s commitment to democratic norms in sports governance.”
It is noteworthy that GSTTA appointed Kushal Sangtani as Secretary on July 11, 2021, after the position fell vacant following the demise of Haresh Sangtani. Kushal Sangtani’s name was simply proposed and seconded and he was appointed without following any due process of election, including the appointment of Returning Officer. The appointment is also marked by other violations.
“Moreover, Kushal Sangtani is a senior accountant in the Office of the Accountant General (Audit-II), Gujarat. As per a circular of the Union Sports Ministry, a central government employee is required to seek prior sanction before holding any post in a sports body. However, according to an RTI reply received from his department, Kushal Sangtani did not take any prior permission or No-objection certificate from it before taking up the post of GSTTA Secretary. This is a violation of extant rules and such election is liable to be declared null and void,” Mr Pandya said.
Asserting that Kushal Sangtani’s appointment as GSTTA Secretary is void ab initio due to the violation of election guidelines, Mr Pandya has demanded a thorough investigation into the episode. He has also called for Kushal Sangtani’s election as Secretary to be immediately declared null and void and for a fresh election to be conducted in accordance with the Sports Code, with the appointment of a Returning Officer and the oversight of an Observer appointed by the Table Tennis Federation of India.
Mr Pandya has also issued a notice to the Table Tennis Federation of India to ensure GSTTA’s compliance with the Sports Code, 2011 and promote corrective action.
“The Sports Code, 2011 is applicable to every constituent of national sports federations. GSTTA is affiliated with the Table Tennis Federation of India and is its constituent. Therefore, it is the Federation’s legal obligation to run the affairs of GSTTA in compliance with the Sports Code, 2011.
A notice has also been served to the Union Sports Secretary for the rampant mismanagement and gross violations at GSTTA.