The National Anti-Doping Appeal panel (NADAP) on Thursday questioned the maintainability of the appeal filed by marathoner Sunita Godara against the order of the National Anti-Doping Disciplinary panel (NADDP) regarding old doping cases dating back to 1991.
The disciplinary panel headed by Sudhir Nandrajog had dismissed her petition last July on various grounds including the difficulty in getting relevant documents related to such cases and the futility of going through such an exercise.
Godara went in appeal before the NADAP headed by Justice C.K. Mahajan (retd.), seeking quashing of the Nandrajog-panel order and appointment of a new panel to hear the case afresh.
Godara’s husband and counsel, Dalbir Singh, also sought the “controversial list” of alleged dope defaulters for the period between 1990 and 2001.
In what has been known as the ‘Godara case’, the former Asian marathon champion had moved the Delhi High Court through a string of writ petitions between 2000 and 2002, seeking, among other things, re-opening of doping cases which she alleged were “hushed up” by the authorities.
The matter was referred to the NADDP by the court in July, 2009, leaving it to take action it “deems fit and proper.”
Amidst a plethora of pleas contained in a petition running into hundreds of pages, Godara sought to re-open 148 doping cases which she claimed were not proceeded against as per rules between 2005 and 2008.
There was the question of the ‘statute of limitations’ coming into play in cases that were older than eight years.
At the outset on Thursday, Justice Mahajan posed the question: “Why don’t you go back to the High Court?”
Justice Mahajan said he wanted the question of “maintainability” of the appeal by the athlete to be sorted out before he looked into the merits of the case.
“We can’t overcome the provisions in the (anti-doping) Code. How do we get jurisdiction?” he asked Godara and her counsel.
The Code stipulates that rules cannot be applied retrospectively. Old cases, if any, will have to be handled by the authorities that initiated the action. The NADA rules came into effect from January 1, 2009.
As for the list of dope-offenders pertaining to the 1990-2001 period that she did not get, Godara alleged that the authorities were still trying to hide the list since it contained names of prominent athletes.
The High Court while referring the case to the NADDP had transferred two sealed envelopes containing the names of the dope offenders. Godara said she only got the ‘second list’ related to the period 2001-2008.
The case was adjourned to November 5, with Justice Mahajan seeking further clarity in the matter of “maintainability” of the appeal.