'Problem is that the sports code is nowhere prescribing that trial is mandatory. It has given flexibility and autonomy to the organisation to decide (mode of selection)'
The Delhi High Court said on Thursday that as per the national Sports Code and the Centre, it is not mandatory for the Wresting Federation of India (WFI) to hold trials for selection of grapplers for Rio Olympics 2016.
"Problem is that the sports code is nowhere prescribing that trial is mandatory. It has given flexibility and autonomy to the organisation to decide (mode of selection).
"I do not find the statutory mandate which you are trying to read into it," Justice Manmohan said to the counsel for two time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who has moved the court seeking directions to WFI to hold selection trials to decide who will represent the country in the 74 Kg freestyle category of the sport at the Rio Olympics.
The Centre, when asked about its role in the selection process, told the court it has no role to play and that WFI was an autonomous body.
Meanwhile, WFI told the court that, on May 3, it has already sent the name of Narsingh Pancham Yadav to United World Wrestling, which oversees the sport at the Olympics.
This move was questioned by Sushil's counsel, senior advocate Amit Sibal, who said "why the rush to send the name on May 3 when deadline was July 18?"
He also said that by doing so Sushil's plea has been rendered infructuous.
The court, however, said that since it has heard lengthy arguments it will deliver a judgment and reserved its verdict on the athlete's plea.
While doing so, the court also observed that wrestlers were a small, well-knit community/group who were "perfectly aware" of the past, and consistent practice regarding selections.
Sibal disagreed with this view of the court and said that while WFI held trials for Commonwealth Games every year, none were conducted in 2014 and added that there was inconsistency, year after year, in the policy followed for selections.
Regarding the Centre's stand that it has no role to play, Sibal contended that under the Sports Code the government was duty bound to ensure that selection policy followed by the federation has to be fair and transparent, and it "cannot wash its hands off" this obligation.
Image: Sushil Kumar
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