In a major victory before firing a shot in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics, the Supreme Court Monday ordered that the PCI immediately include Arjuna awardee and five-time Paralympian shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma as an additional participant for the sporting mega-event in Japan.
We direct the Respondent no.1 (Paralympics Committee of India) to immediately recommend name of the petitioner (Sharma) as an additional participant or additional entry in the 50 m para shooter category of Paralympics and report compliance by tomorrow, a three-judge bench of justices A M Khanwilkar, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari ordered in an urgent hearing this afternoon.
The hearing assumed significance as the shooter, through senior lawyer Vikas Singh, mentioned the matter for hearing on Monday itself before a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana by referring to the urgency saying that any delay would render his plea for selection infructuous as August 2 is the last day for the entry forms to sent.
The CJI had assured the senior lawyer that he would see the files and decide and this led to listing of case for immediate hearing during the day itself.
Today is the last day, Singh argued.
The three judge bench took up the case and asked about the representation from the PCI and was told that the President of the committee switched off her phone after speaking for 5 minutes with a lawyer named Satyam.
The bench said it would issue directions if the sports committee does not want to appear and asked Additional Solicitor General K M Natrajan, appearing for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, about his views on cut-off date for entering the bubble.
There is a requirement to enter the bubble before cut off date. What is that date? What is the last date to send names, the bench asked.
The Central government has no objection to orders as the team selection has to be done by the committee and the government would be happy if medals increase, the law officer said.
The bench proceeded to dictate the order and recorded the situation leading to urgent hearing of the case.
Counsel for the petitioner (Sharma) states that advocate Satyam personally spoke to the President of the committee. However upon being apprised by the proceeding, no appearance has been made...
"In view of the urgency and more particularly in light of observations of the Delhi High Court prima facie, the petitioner succeeded and appropriate directions should have been issued to the Respondent committee for the time being, it said.
While ordering immediate inclusion of the shooter in the team travelling to Tokyo, the bench said that the order be sent to the committee for compliance and it will take up remaining issues in the matter on Tuesday.
Tokyo Paralympics is starting from August 24 and the shooter was aggrieved due to his non-selection
The Paralympian shooter has challenged an order of the Delhi High Court which had posted his plea relating to his non-selection for the upcoming Tokyo games for hearing on August 6.
The shooter said a division bench of the high court had on July 30 sought responses of the PCI and the Centre on his appeal against its single-judge order which had refused to interfere with his non-selection for the games.
It said the petitioner's counsel had tried for an early date of hearing before the high court since, as per policy of PCI, the deadline for sending names of final selected candidates for participation in the games is August 2.
"The petitioner humbly seeks intervention of this court in the present matter as the legitimate opportunity of the petitioner to participate in Tokyo Paralympics in R7 event and consequently bring laurels to the country will be lost if the arbitrary, discriminatory and capricious selection of the shooter in R7 event by the selection committee of PCI is allowed, the plea said.
During the July 30 hearing before the high court, Sharma's counsel had submitted that the event will start from August 24, and August 2 is the deadline for Tokyo 2020 organising committee to receive sports entry forms submitted by the National Paralympic Committee (NPC).
The counsel had urged the high court to list the matter on an early date, however, the bench had said the petitioner should have approached the court a little earlier and not at the last moment.
On July 27, the high court's single-judge order had said that PCI's conduct in relation to the selection of another player over Sharma was unbecoming of a public sporting body which has to maintain a fair, transparent and inclusionary approach.
The court had, however, refused to interfere with the selection of the other player over Sharma at this belated stage, noting that the shooting team was already in a bubble.
It, however, had asked the Union Sports Ministry to examine the aspect and take action, if necessary.