The Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition moved by the Navalokam Samskarika Kendram, a Kottayam-based non-government organisation, challenging the Centre’s decision not to confer the prestigious Arjuna Award on athlete Renjith Maheshwary last year on the basis of violation of anti-doping rules.
While refusing to entertain the petition filed by way of public interest litigation, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice G. Rohini analysed the legal tool of PIL and said it cannot cover individual wrongs as individuals can always seek redress on their own. The Court did not find the writ petition maintainable.
The Court held that there was no public interest involved in the matter and noted that Mr. Maheshwary himself had not challenged the last-minute withdrawal of the award or the previous ban imposed on his participation in any domestic or international competition in athletics.
Besides challenging the withdrawal of Mr. Maheshwary’s name from the list of Arjuna awardees in 2013, the petitioner impugned the Athletics Federation of India’s decisions of 2008 and 2009 imposing ban on Mr. Maheshwary . The NGO also questioned the report of the laboratory on the basis of which Mr. Maheshwary was found to have failed the anti-doping test.
The Bench, which also comprised Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, noted that the athlete had never chosen to challenge his suspension or ban, and had accepted it.
“The grievance, if any, from denial of the Arjuna Award and the right, if any, for conferment of the award is personal to Mr. Maheshwary and the petitioner, who is merely an organisation of which Mr. Maheshwary and his father are claimed to be members, has no right to claim such a relief,” stated the judgment.