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Cancellation of Arjuna award to athlete: HC rejects NGO's plea

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 - 9:28pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a Kerala-based NGO's plea against the government's last-minute decision not to confer the prestigious Arjuna award on triple jumper Renjith Maheshwari in 2013, saying the petition is not maintainable.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw rejected the plea of NGO Navalokam Samskarika Kendram of Kottayam, saying there is no public interest involved in the matter as the grievance is personal to Maheshwari who has not challenged his suspension-cum-ban in 2008 for using a 'scheduled' substance nor the last-minute withdrawal of the award.

"The fact remains that Renjith Maheswari never chose to challenge the said suspension or ban and rather accepted the same. A third person, as the petitioner, cannot be permitted to challenge the same. It is not as if the suspension or ban of Renjith Maheswari was on account of his membership or the membership of his father, of the petitioner organization. This petition is to redress the individual wrong meted out to Renjith Maheswari. The effect of entertaining this petition would be that, if allowed, Renjith Maheswari will be the beneficiary of the order but if dismissed, Renjith Maheswari shall not be bound by the order," the bench said.
Navalokam Samskarika Kendram had, 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 cancelled at the last minute causing grave embarrassment to the athlete, it had said.

The ministry had decided not to confer the award on the ground that the triple jumper was found to have used a 'scheduled' substance (ephedrine) in 2008.

The NGO had sought quashing of the 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. 

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