Why this case was in the news recently?
The Delhi High Court recently dismissed the plea filed by wrestlers challenging the exemption given to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia in the Asian Games Trials.
The court ruled that the decision to grant exemption was reasonable and in line with the rules and regulations set by the respective sports authorities. Moreover, the court emphasised that athletes of exceptional calibre and performance should be given certain privileges to ensure fair representation at international competitions like the Asian Games.
The wrestlers, Antim Panghal and Sujeet Kalkal had earlier this month appealed the decision of the Indian Olympic Association’s ad hoc committee to exempt Phogat and Punia from the trials for men’s freestyle 65 kg and women’s 53 kg categories.
Their argument was that the trials should be held fairly, without any exemptions for wrestlers, and that the entire process should be videotaped.
Court’s Verdict on the Asian Games Trial
While without commenting on the merits of Panghal and Kalkal, who have also succeeded in the area of wrestling, the court stated that it was not inclined to hear an appeal against the ad-hoc Committee’s decision because it could not be argued to be arbitrary or perverse.
According to Justice Subramonium Prasad, the ad-hoc Committee’s unanimous decision to award Punia and Phogat immunity and not subject them to physical harm during the trials cannot be described as arbitrary or perverse.
“It is no one’s fault if Respondents Nos. 3 and 4 are unknown in their respective fields. In fact, both athletes are ranked in the World’s Top 10, and hence their classification as elite athletes cannot be argued to be perverse or arbitrary, according to the court.
“The Asian Games are scheduled to begin in about two months, and if injury occurs to the elite athletes, who are medal contenders, the time for recovery is extremely short; thus, the Committee’s decision to exempt Respondents No.3 & 4 from selection trials in order to ensure that they are not exposed to injuries during trials cannot be said to be arbitrary, capricious, or perverse,” the court stated.
The court considered an affidavit submitted by the Wrestling Federation of India, which reported that Punia was exempted from selection trials on August 27 of the previous year for the World Wrestling Championship, and returned with a medal for the country. The court noted that the decision was not made to favour anyone or due to any incidental circumstances, and it cannot be claimed that the WFI acted against the nation’s interest. The petitioners did not make this claim either.
Delhi High Court Ruling: What it Means for Future Games Trials
The Delhi High Court’s dismissal of the wrestlers’ plea challenging the exemption given to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia has significant implications for the Asian Games selection process.
The court ruled that the decision to grant exemption was reasonable and in line with the rules and regulations set by the respective sports authorities. Moreover, the court emphasized that athletes of exceptional caliber and performance should be given certain privileges to ensure fair representation at international competitions like the Asian Games. By upholding the exemption given to Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, the court recognized the extraordinary achievements and skill demonstrated by these two wrestlers, ultimately reaffirming the importance of recognizing and nurturing exceptional talent in sports. This decision will have a lasting impact on the future selection process for the Asian Games and other similar sporting events. The court’s ruling sends a message that deserving athletes should be provided with opportunities to showcase their abilities on the international stage, promoting fairness and meritocracy in sports selection processes.
Asian Games Trials: An Examination of Wrestlers’ Plea and Court’s Verdict
In its ruling, the court emphasized the need to recognize exceptional talent and give privileges to athletes who have consistently demonstrated exceptional skill and achieved remarkable success in their respective sports. The court also asserted that the selection process for the Asian Games Trials was fair and transparent, ensuring equal opportunities for all athletes to qualify. The court concluded that the decision to exempt Phogat and Punia was made after careful consideration of various factors, such as performance, potential, and overall contribution to their sport. This decision by the Delhi High Court serves as a reaffirmation of the importance of recognizing and nurturing exceptional talent in sports. Therefore, the Delhi High Court concluded that there was no ground to interfere with the decision to exempt Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia from the Asian Games Trials, and upheld their exemption. The court’s verdict serves as a reaffirmation of the importance of recognizing and nurturing exceptional talent in sports, ensuring that deserving athletes have the opportunity to showcase their skills on a global stage and represent their country with pride and excellence at international sporting events such as the Asian Games.