Delhi High Court, File Photo
The Delhi High Court has asked the secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to examine and take expeditious decision on the matter relating to non-inclusion of 10 differently-abled table tennis players in the final list of participants for the upcoming Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru said the secretary shall take the decision in consultation with the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) within a week.
The court passed the order after noting that the last date for submission of the names of participants is already over and the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has already sent the names of the participants.
“It is clarified that in the event, the ministry decides to permit the petitioners (players) to participate in the Asian Para Games 2018, PCI will take all necessary steps to ensure that the names of the said players are also included in the Indian contingent,” the court said and disposed of the plea.
The petition claimed that trials were conducted by TTFI on July 8 in Indore to select the team of table tennis players for the games and 19 best performing players, including the 10 petitioners, were selected.
However, they were shocked to note that despite their selection in the trials, the authorities have “arbitrarily and whimsically” dropped their names from the final list of players and selected only five players for the tournament to be held from October 6 to 13, the plea filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava said.
The 10 players who have filed the plea in the high court are Sandeep Kalra, Jagannath Mukherjee, Ramakrishnaiah Srinivas, Sanjeev Kumar Hajeri, Dr Ajay Gubbi Vijaya Kumar, Sumit Sehgal, A Raj Aravindan, R baby Sahana, Poonam and Jashvantbhai Chaudhary. They are aged between 14 and 53 years.
The plea said these players are holding international classification cards issued by International Paralympic Committee, a prerequisite for any payer to play any international match in the para (disabled) category.
The petitioners said they had to incur lakhs of rupees on their own to obtain the international classification cards and many of them had taken loans for it.
The plea said every participating country has been allotted a maximum slot of 25 athletes in para table tennis category in the event.
“Considering adequate quota of 25 players allotted to India by the Asian Paraympic Committee, all of the 19 players, including the petitioners, were required to be included in the final list of Indian contingent for table tennis in the tournament.
“However, despite having availability of sufficient slots, the authorities have arbitrarily decided to only include the five players and have arbitrarily excluded the names of the petitioners from the final list, that too without assigning any reason,” it said.
The players said despite repeated requests, the authorities had not included their names in the Indian contingent.