Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana government to consider Sunita Singh Choken, who climbed Mount Everest in 2011, for appointment in the Haryana Police at par with other Everesters who were given the posts of DSPs or sub-inspectors in the state before 2013.
Justice Rajiv Narain Raina, in the judgment released on Saturday, said that if persons like Choken are given jobs in the police department their presence would be inspirational for the police force.
“Appointments under sports quota from among persons who have stepped on the peak of Mount Everest is not only a matter of pride for the recipients or award winners, but for the State of Haryana which justifiably prides itself of supreme achievements of its sportspersons in a wide range of sports at national and international levels,” Justice Raina said in the judgment dated February 1. Stating that there are sufficient administrative precedents like in cases of Mamta Sodha, who was appointed DSP after she climbed the Everest in 2010, and others who were appointed sub-inspectors under the sports quota, the single bench directed the government to take a decision in the matter within eight weeks.
Justice Raina in the order further said, “…in case age is an impediment to appointment, it can be ignored because the mandate of Article 14 of the Constitution of India is the supreme law preventing discrimination among equals by promoting fraternity and a balanced equality of treatment without insisting on too much mathematical exactness of facts, so long as the range of selection permits reasonable classification and the object sought to be achieved is the same.”
Haryana government last year told the High Court that Mamta Sodha’s case was approved by the Cabinet as a special case in 2011 as there was no Sports Policy at that time. “There is no provision in the Policy dated 12.01.2015 for giving cash award to the Mount Everest climbers, accordingly no award money is payable to the Mount Everest climbers after 12.01.2015. As far as the government job is concerned, there is no provision of job in the policy of Department of Sports & Youth Affairs, Haryana for Mount Everest climbers,” the government had said. While maintaining that a job cannot be provided to her, it had added that she was entitled to Rs 5 lakh which was paid to her as per 2013 Sports Policy. The government also said that she is entitled to another Rs 16 lakh, but suject to a pending court decision.
High Court in the order, meanwhile, noted that Choken has participated in many adventure sports where she has won many laurels and is a gold medalist in tennis and ball badminton. “The petitioner has not ignored her academic career. She matriculated in 2002 and qualified 10+2 in 2004 from CBSE stream. She holds a degree of Bachelor of Physical Science from Khalsa College, Ambala, Haryana and was ranked 3rd in Kurukshetra University in 2007. She also holds the degree in Master of Physical Education from Kurukshetra University,” the order reads.