August 2, 2021 10:48:01 pm
The Supreme Court Monday directed the Paralympic Committee of India to include shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma in the list of those participating in the games scheduled to begin on August 24 in Tokyo.
Following an urgent hearing in the afternoon, a three-judge bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari asked PCI “to recommend the name of” Sharma “as additional participant/additional entry for Men’s 50 m Rifle Position SH1, at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics without any exception…”.
The court also directed the Committee to file a compliance report by Tuesday.
Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appearing for Sharma on Monday morning mentioned his petition before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. He pointed out that August 2 is the deadline to send the name of the final selected candidates.
Though he had earlier approached the Delhi High Court, the matter was adjourned to August 6 by which date, the time for forwarding the names would have already expired, pointed out Singh.
The petition said the High Court had not appreciated the urgency in the matter.
It said the High Court “had denied the inclusion” of Sharma’s name “stating that the shooting team had already been placed in a (bio) bubble for the purpose of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics”. But the court failed to appreciate that the “result” of the selection “was delayed by PCI” and the information regarding it was communicated to him only on July 17 and he had approached the HC “immedaitely thereafter” on July 19, submitted Sharma.
Singh pointed out that the HC in its July 27 order had found that the “PCI acted in violation of its own criteria for the selection of the Paralympic shooting team” but felt it too late to intervene.
Sensing the urgency, the CJI referred the matter to the bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar, which took it up at 2 pm.
Singh informed the bench that “his colleague Mr. Satyam Rajput, advocate had personally contacted the President of…Paralympic Committee of India…and apprised about the proceedings, including that it would be taken up for hearing by Court immediately”, but yet there was no representation from the Committee before the court.
The court asked Additional Solicitor General K M Nataraj, who appeared for the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, about the “cut-off date for entering the bubble”.
The ASG said that the Union of India has no role to play in the selection. He said the government will abide by the court’s directions, and that it is for the committee to recommend the names of the participants.
The bench then ordered that “in view of the urgency and, more particularly, in light of the observations made in…order dated 27.07.2021 passed by the learned Single Judge of the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi…, prima facie, the petitioner ought to have succeeded before the High Court and appropriate directions should have been issued to…Committee”.