Respond to coach's plea challenging exclusion from Dronacharya Award: HC tells Centre
The Delhi High Court Friday sought response of the Centre on a plea by 79-year-old wrestling coach Jagrup Singh Rathi challenging the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports' decision to exclude him from the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime category) for 2021.
Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the ministry and asked it to file the reply to the petition within three weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on January 27.
Rathi has challenged the November 2 order of the ministry by which it has awarded the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime Category) for 2021 for the sport while excluding him, despite he being found meritorious by the Selection Committee.
Central government standing counsel Anil Soni accepted notice on behalf of the ministry.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the coach, said he has been ignored by the authorities and chosen not to award him without any cogent reasons.
It is pertinent to point out that despite the Scheme for Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games issued by the respondent no. 1 (ministry) prescribing only a maximum of 2 Dronacharya Awards (Lifetime Category) and 3 Dronacharya Awards (Regular Category) in a year, the respondent no. 1 nonetheless has awarded five persons in each category, indicating that the limits prescribed in the scheme are not the reason for acting contrary to the recommendations of the respondent no. 2 (selection committee), the petition, filed through advocate R Arunadhri Iyer, said.
It said Rathi is a highly qualified celebrity coach with experience of 43 years and has also been the Chief Coach for the Olympics team for India in 1984.
The plea said the petitioner, himself an Arjuna awardee and gold medallist in the Commonwealth Games in 1974, has trained over 40 wrestlers who have fetched medals at international events and even 10 of his disciples have been awarded the Arjuna award in the past and two of his disciples have even been awarded the Dronacharya Award itself.
It said he has learnt that the Selection Committee constituted by the ministry has recommended that Rathi be awarded the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime category), which was also widely publicised in news reports.
Rathi sought direction to the authorities to additionally confer the Dronacharya Award (Lifetime Category) to him for his performance as a coach based on merit as per the Scheme.