Weightlifter Shailaja Pujari, who has been slapped with a life ban by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), has been put through fresh disciplinary proceedings by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
The Andhra woman had come ‘positive' for a steroid in a test conducted by NADA in the Bangalore camp on August 27 last. She tested positive again, subsequently, in a test carried out by the IWF in Pune in September.
Having tested positive prior to the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006, in an out-of-competition test conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in Patiala, Pujari was banned for life for her second offence by the IWF.
The IWF ban was announced last January. The Andhra lifter has already crossed the time-limit for an appeal which is 21 days.
NADA had, in the meantime, initiated its own proceedings, the first notice to Pujari having gone out last October. Pujari was listed to appear before the Jasmeet Singh panel on April 14.
The panel also includes hockey Olympian M.P. Ganesh and Dr N.K. Kaadiya.
Pujari was unavailable for the hearing on that date and there is no confirmation about her intention to go through with another set of procedures while she is undergoing a life ban.
If the panel is able to actually go through with the hearing and finds her guilty from the reported violation at the Bangalore camp, it would be construed as her second offence (first one being her 2006 offence), punishable with a life ban.
The question naturally comes up: Should an athlete who is undergoing a life ban be hauled up before another disciplinary panel to face one more doping charge and possible sanction?
Logically, this might sound an incongruous situation, but from a legal perspective there could be room for a debate.