July 27, 2021 10:39:43 pm
The Delhi High Court Tuesday refused to interfere with non-selection of five-time Paralympian shooter Naresh Sharma for the upcoming Tokyo games.
Sharma had questioned the selection of another shooter for a particular event.
Declining his plea, Justice Rekha Palli said “I see no reason to interfere with the selection of respondent no. 4 (other player) or to direct respondent no. 1 (Paralympic Committee of India) to select Sharma in his place or in addition.”
The judge, who was hearing the petition preferred by Sharma — an Arjuna Awardee and Rajiv Gandhi State Sports Awardee, nonetheless directed the Central government to examine the allegations on selection of another shooter being “tailor-made” by the committee and take action if necessary.
“Respondent no. 3 (Sports Ministry, Government of India) is directed to examine this aspect after giving opportunity to the petitioner (Sharma) and respondent no. 1. In case respondent no 3 finds that there was foul play, appropriate action be taken in accordance with law”, the court said.
Advocate Varun Singh, appearing for Sharma contended that selection of another player — Deepak — was contrary to the laid down criteria for the Paralympics.
He claimed that Sharma was discriminated against by the committee.
It was argued that Deepak was “permitted and guided” by the authorities to participate in a grand prix event in Serbia in order to enable him to become eligible for the Paralympics, in spite of the event being an unrecognised one.
The PCI, on the other hand, contended that it was doing its best to select the best candidates and Deepak was the one with the highest score in the relevant category.
The court was informed by advocate Naveen Kumar, appearing for PCI, that the Serbia grand prix was one of the World Shooting Para Sports (WSPS) events in which many countries participated and that Sharma voluntarily chose not to participate in it.
Considering the submissions, the court opined that in view of the peculiar circumstances that the world was facing on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCI’s conduct of permitting Deepak to participate in Serbia grand prix after getting a clarification from its parent body could not be faulted with.
Taking note of the submission, the court said “There is a case where prima facie there is document to show that it (Serbia event) as a WSPS. At this stage, I don’t see reason to interfere.”
During the hearing, the court asked counsel for PCI if the committee would consider Sharma’s name for selection at this stage.
Kumar, however, said that the process was “at a belated event and players were already in a bio-bubble”.
The petition alleged that the selection panel of PCI deliberately and arbitrarily ignored his name for the Paralympics in spite of him fulfilling all the eligibility criteria including achieving the minimum qualifying score.
It alleged that the selection committee arbitrarily and without application of mind selected Deepak to participate in 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in R7 event.
The plea said that the selection process was in violation of the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 which mandates judicious and meritorious selection of players to represent India at major international events.
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