Centre’s response sought on plea by Arjuna awardee

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on plea by a specially-abled sportsperson who claimed discrimination by government in rewarding Deaflympics athletes over Olympics and Para Olympics sportspersons.

Justice Navin Chawla sought the response from Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the petition filed by Arjuna awardee Virender Singh.

In his petition, filed through advocate Ajay Verma, Mr. Singh said he is a Deaflympic Champion Wrestler of international repute with 100% speaking and hearing disability.

Mr. Singh said he had also represented India at the international-level in Deaflympics and is popularly known as “Goonga Pahalwan”.

Deaflympics, organised by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf, is the highest competitive international championship for world deaf athletes with a minimum of hearing disability of 55 decibels.

The Paralympic Games, on the other hand, are international multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities or intellectual impairments. This includes athletes with mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy.

Special awards

In 1986, the government introduced scheme of special awards to the medal winners in international events and their coaches.

The objective was to incentivise the achievements of outstanding sportspersons, encourage and motivate them for higher achievements.

Advocate Verma contended that as per the scheme, the award is given to sports disciplines in Olympics or Asian Games or Commonwealth Games and chess.

The plea argued that the current policy of rewarding the persons winning medals in Olympics or Para Olympics games is discriminatory with the persons winning medals in blind or deaf championships.

“In fact, Para Olympics are being treated at par with Olympics and are getting the same cash rewards awarded by the government of India to the winner of open category,” the plea said, adding that the government has kept the deaf or blind championship as a separate category.

The petition has also sought for a direction to include him and other sportspersons who are medalist in International Deaf Olympics sports or other sports in the category of deaf /dumb in the Scheme of Sports Fund for Pension to Meritorious Sportspersons.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:58:43 AM |

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