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|August 21, 2001||
HC refuses to stay Arjuna awards function
The Delhi high court on Tuesday refused to stay the August 29 Arjuna awards function following a writ petition by reigning Asian discuss throw champion Anil Kumar, who has alleged that the awards are being manipulated and doled out to undeserving persons.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arijit Passayat and Justice D K Jain also declined to treat the writ as a Public Interest Litigation, saying the petitioner has raised personal grievances.
The bench said a personal grievance of Anil Kumar -- that his name was not included in the list -- is involved in the petition, making it impossible to be treated as a PIL. The bench referred the writ to a single judge bench, which would hear it on August 24 on merit.
The bench did not agree with Anil Kumar's argument that a larger public interest is also involved in the writ, and said his personal grievances would be looked into by a single judge bench.
The reigning Asian champion alleged that the government's policy for selecting the Arjuna awardees "is vague, incomprehensive, inadequate, and is being manipulated by sports officials with mala fide intention, nepotism and favoritism".
"As a result, the awards are being doled out to totally undeserving persons, who can hardly be called to be anywhere near the petitioner (Kumar) in performance," the petition said.
Anil Kumar had sought a stay of the awards function, saying that deserving persons, especially, he would suffer irredeemable loss and injury.
"I may be permanently left out of the awards forever/or may have to wait for 40 years like Milkha Singh," Kumar, in his writ, contended.
Since the petition has raised an issue of great public interest, he pleaded that after granting an interim stay on the Arjuna awards function, the writ "may be taken up as a PIL so that all other deserving sportspersons are also benefited".
Great sportspersons like Milkha Singh and Asian gold medalist Kamaljit Sandhu had been left out for past several years, the petition said.
Accusing the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports of failing in performing its public duty, the petitioner claimed the list of sportspersons drawn by it for consideration this year had many names which did not figure even among the top 100 athletes in the country.
Citing the example of Rachna Govil, as a case of "arbitrary selection" for the award, Kumar said she has been considered because she is an administrator with the Sports Authority of India. "There are many other athletes better than her who deserve to be considered for the award," he said.
"Prima facie it is apparent that the executive is not only indulging in mala fide (acts) but is playing fraud on the honest. The legislators seem to be contributing to the malice instead of helping to resolve the problem," the petition said, adding "they are recommending cases and lobbying for all and sundry, instead brining a fool proof sports policy."
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