Delhi HC Issues Notice on Plea Challenging Suspension by PCI on Prasant Karmakar
Updated: Oct 20, 2020
A contemporary athlete whose future has been allegedly affected by the sporting bureaucracies is Prasanta Karmakar. He is an Arjuna Awardee and the only Commonwealth and Asian Games medalist swimmer while being the fastest para-swimmer in India. He has represented India as a swimming team coach for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and has been the national champion for 16 consecutive years.
The said athlete had been suspended in 2018 after being accused of filming female swimmers during the country’s national championships the previous year by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
Prashant had approached the Delhi HC for revoking the three-year suspension which had been imposed on him by the Paralympic Committee of India. The said athlete has been represented by Advocates Amit Kumar Sharma, Satyam Singh Rajput and Ashok Arora. The petition sought to revoke the suspension and the permission to participate in the IWAS world games which shall act as the qualifying event for the Paralympics.
With the Paralympics being held every 4 years like the Olympics, this time they were slated to be held in Japan. But, the event has been postponed to August 2021 due to the worldwide standstill. One of the most important qualification to participate in an Olympic event is that the athlete should have achieved Minimum Qualification Standards (MQS) in an international event which is held to be a qualifier event. In the given situation the qualification event is IWAS World Games, which is scheduled to be held in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand in December this year.
The petitioner has submitted that the suspension characterized "baseless, false and untenable" charges. He has submitted that the said athlete had tried to bring to light the financial impropriety and irregularities, corruption, mismanagement and lack of transparency and accountability which was prevalent in the functioning of the PCI. The athlete had even questioned the position of the then-president of the PCI. It has also been submitted that in order to get rid of the petitioner and to protect vested interests the petitioner PCI was implicated in concocted, fabricated and false charge of misbehaviour manhandling and international wrongdoing. There was a predetermined and premeditated plan on the part of the PCI to take action against the petitioner on the pretext of false and fabricated charges.
The petitioner has also submitted to the court that the disciplinary proceedings which were initiated against him were unfair; as he was neither given the information of there being disciplinary proceedings against him nor was he given the opportunity to be heard.
The petitioner has also submitted that the institution of PCI has been suspended and derecognized by the ministry of youth and affairs numerous times in 2011, 2015 and 2019 and also three times suspended by the International Paralympic Committee for its regularity. The sporting body has not only suspended the petitioner but the president itself. Based on the past events the petitioner has also argued that PCI has always been indulged in illegal activities.
The petitioner through this petition sought the revocation of the suspension which was imposed on him and be allowed to take part in future sporting events. Furthermore, the petitioner sought Grant damages/ compensation for being arbitrarily, capriciously and illegally debarred from the swimming competition for 3 years by respondent PCI in violation of his fundamental right enshrined under Article 19(1) (g).
The interim application was heard By the Delhi HC and the court issued a notice to the concerned authorities and sought a reply from them within a week’s time. The matter shall be further heard on 8th October 2020.