The war of words between Indian Olympic Association’s top two officials continued with president Narinder Batra claiming that the body’s constitution gives him the authority to form a committee or commission, subject to approval by the Executive Council or the General Body.

On Tuesday, IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta had described Batra’s May 19 decision to dissolve the Ethics Commission, formed in 2017, as “illegal”.

Mehta had said that the term of the commission under the ethics rule, which was approved at the General Body meeting in 2018 and signed by Batra, was four years and the president cannot dissolve it two years prior.

But, Batra said under the IOA constitution, he has the authority to appoint or remove members of a commission.

“I do not find any mention in Rule 18.3 of involvement of Secretary General and/or the President is bound to take advice from Secretary General to form any Committee/Commission,” Batra said.

“The AGM or the General House has to work within the boundaries drawn by the constitution and is bound by the constitution and if any time the AGM or EC violates the constitution then the constitution shall definitely prevail,” he added.

Batra said all his decisions to form the committees and commissions were taken as per Rule 18.3 of IOA constitution, and hence, are valid and within the power and authority of the president.

“It is well established that the authority which has the authority to appoint also had the authority to remove. In the present case the IOA EB on recommendation of IOA President on 27th March, 2019 approved for the tenure of the Ethics Commission only up to end of 2019.

“Hence, from 1st January, 2020 it is understood that all the 8 members plus the Chair are deemed to have automatically vacated their position held in IOA Ethics Commission and the letter sent by President IOA in May 2020 is only a formality.”

Batra added it is up to the EC of IOA to accept or reject, by majority vote, the names of Chair and members of the various committees or commission formed by President IOA”.

Mehta had also claimed that the Annual General Meeting of the IOA held in December 2017 had authorised Batra and himself to appoint or nominate chairman/convenor/members of the commission and committees and that he has not given any consent to new appointments or removal.

On this, Batra said: “Mr N Ramachandran was the President and the Chair of the meeting of the 14.12.2017 and You (Mr Rajeev Mehta) were the Secretary General. I got elected as President in that AGM as President and technically I take over from the next day i.e 15.12.2017. So in real time, I was not the President for this meeting on 14.12.2017.”

Batra is currently the president of the International Hockey Federation and is also a member of the International Olympic Committee.