The Delhi High Court on Friday sought to know from the Centre the reason behind Saina Nehwal’s father Harvir Singh being not allowed inside the Commonwealth Games Village in Australia’s Gold coast. A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Najmi Waziri also expressed displeasure over the action of the authorities against the badminton icon’s father, who is in a foreign country on his own expense.
“How can the authorities deny accreditation to the father after going there. They could have done that at the start only. It’s difficult for a daughter, as they are emotionally attached to their father,” the bench remarked.
The bench further observed that around 70 delegates went to that country along with over 200 players and the authorities have problem over one “poor father”.
“We want the ministry to do something. We will not forget this incident and will ask the ministry about the steps, they have taken to resolve this,” the bench said, adding that this “incident” was not needed.
Central government standing counsel Anil Soni told the court that he will personally take up the issue with the minister concerned and try to resolve the same. The court’s oral observation came during hearing of a plea by advocate and well-known sports activist Rahul Mehra, who has asked for the de-recognition of various sports bodies on the ground of violation of the National Sports Code, which stipulates various criteria for the person to hold office.
Following the incident Saina had also written a complaint to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) over their failure about informing her that her father would be denied access.
She had told The Indian Express in Gold Coast that she was shown lack of respect due to which she decided to pull out. And, she had said, her threat to pull out on the eve of the opening ceremony was an “emotional response” to the “lack of respect” shown to her.
“This wouldn’t have happened if they (IOA) would’ve clearly sorted out the issue. There wouldn’t have been any controversy. My father’s name was cut after we reached here and the chef de mission had signed on the paper,” she had said. She had already paid for his expenses for getting the accreditation too.
Advocate Mehra in his PIL has also alleged that there were no age limit for holding positions in any sports federation or association. He also also alleged that there were political interference with regard to implementation of the sports code.
The court, during the hearing, directed the ministry to produce the relevant file and noting on the basis of which it had formed a new sports code, which is yet to be brought into force. The court has fixed the matter for further hearing on May 18.