In a significant verdict, the Madras High Court on Wednesday ordered that henceforth, the positions of president, vice-president and secretary of all sports clubs, associations and federations in the State must be held only by sportspersons, and not by politicians or businesspeople.
Justice R. Mahadevan also ordered that the selection of athletes for district-, State- and national-level events must be done strictly on the basis of merit, and it should be within the purview of the decision-making powers of selection committees comprising sportspersons only.
The judge made it clear that all selections must be done after implementing an online registration system, and that every sports body in the State must publish on its website the details of funds allocated and the amount spent on each athlete for participating in such events.
It would be mandatory for sports clubs and associations to disclose on their website the quantum of funds received from the Centre as well as the State government, apart from details of the money spent on the athletes.
Further, making it mandatory for the sports bodies to get themselves registered with the State government, the court empowered the latter to initiate penal action against the clubs, associations and federations which select candidates on the basis of extraneous considerations.
Any complaint regarding nepotism, favouritism and so on must be disposed of within a week, the court ordered, and suggested the enactment of a comprehensive law on the subject.
Justice Mahadevan ordered that the slew of directions issued by him must be complied with in letter and in spirit, till the State legislature comes up with a law on similar lines.
The court issued the directions while disposing of a writ petition filed by S. Nithya, a discuss throw champion, who complained of discrimination and non-selection for national events despite having won gold and silver medals in State-level championships.