The Supreme Court issued notice to the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on Friday on a petition challenging the withdrawal of the Arjuna Award from a triple jump athlete, Renjith Maheswary, hours before the presentation ceremony based on a news report that he failed a doping test in 2008.
A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M.Y. Eqbal was acting on a writ petition filed by the Navalokam Samskarika Kendram, Kottayam.
The Bench, after hearing counsel Shekar Naphade and V.K. Biju, also issued notice, returnable on April 21, to the Sports Authority of India, the Athletic Federation of India, the National Anti-Doping Agency and the Kerala government.
The petitioner submitted that Mr. Maheswary’s name was on the award list released on August 14, 2013. On August 29, he came to Delhi from Chennai and stayed at Hotel Ashoka, along with other award winners. He was presented a cheque for Rs. 5 lakh towards the cash prize the next day and made to participate in a rehearsal at Rashtrapati Bhavan for the function. The next morning, he was told to stay away from the ceremony as the award had been withdrawn.
The cheque deposited by him in the bank was dishonoured. On September 4, 2013, the Minister said the award would be given to him after an enquiry but nothing had been done so far.
A representation was sent to the local MLA and the Kerala Chief Minister, but in vain.