A Kerala-based organisation today moved the Delhi High Court against the Centre’s last minute decision not to confer triple jump athlete Renjith Maheshwary with the prestigious Arjuna award in 2013.
Navalokam Samskarika Kendram of Kottayam, in its plea, alleged the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs not only selected the athlete but also sent the prize money of Rs 5 lakh through cheque, besides the air ticket.
The conferment of the award was canceled at the last minute causing grave embarrassment to the athlete, it said.
The ministry while decided not to confer the award said as the triple jumper was found to have used a ‘scheduled’ substance (ephedrine) back in 2008.
A bench of Justice Manmohan, which asked the organisation to file a short synopsis and the list of dates and events, today fixed the plea for hearing on May 26.
Besides the Ministry, the plea has also made Sports Authority of India, Athletic Federation of India and Director General of National Anti Doping Agency as parties.
It has sought quashing of alleged 2008 dope test report of the athlete on the ground that National Anti-Doping Agency has not been accredited by World Anti-Doping Agency and moreover, the ‘custody of the sample’ did not satisfy the legal requirements.
Besides various other reliefs, the plea has sought compensation for non-conferment of the award.
‘The athlete had never been punished and not even tested positive by a WADA-accredited agency,’ the plea said.
Maheshwary has several awards in various international events.
His name was in the award list released on August 14, 2013. On August 29, he came to Delhi from Chennai and stayed at Hotel Ashoka, along with other award winners, and participated in a rehearsal at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the function, the plea said.
The next morning, he was told to stay away from the ceremony as the award had been withdrawn, it said.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to interfere with the government’s decision to withdraw the award from Maheshwary.