No relief for sprinter Manjit, Delhi High Court gives nod for National Sports Awards

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The Arjuna Awards, which will be presented on Wednesday at the National Sports Awards event at Rashtrapati Bhavan, are not going to be postponed by the Delhi High Court, due to the omission of champion sprinter Manjit Singh from the list, who had won gold medal in 800m at 2018 Asian Games.

At a hearing for Manjit Singh, the Asian Games 800m gold medalist, Justice Prathiba M Singh stated, "I am not going to stop the award function which is to take place tomorrow." The athlete asked for guidance from the authorities in his petition so they would think about giving him the "Arjuna Award for Outstanding Performance in Sports and Games (2022)" after he won a gold medal at the 18th Asian Games, which were held in Jakarta.

The Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports were served notifications by the high court, which then requested their responses to the petition. The judge ruled that, "The award function cannot be interdicted at this stage" and that if, after the authorities have filed their answers, the court decides that the petitioner's case has to be taken into consideration, it will determine if a relaxation of the scheme is necessary.

Anil Soni, the standing attorney for the central government, argued that on November 14 the prizes were announced and that Wednesday was set aside for the celebration. He said that although the other athlete who would get the award is identified in the petition, he is not made a party to the dispute.

In the petition, it was argued that leaving his name off of the list of recipients was "unfair, unjustified," and went against Article 14 of the Constitution, which deals with equality before the law. According to the Arjuna Award program, Singh demands 30 points, and as a result, he has been left off the list of recipients, while a sportsperson with 25 points has been added.

In 2018, India won five gold medals at the Asian Games, and all other individual athletes excluding the petitioner had already received the Award, according to the statement. "Petitioner has been continuously nominated for the past 4 years and has not been considered for the Arjuna Award to date despite being meritorious. This is the last chance when the petitioner can be considered and after that, he shall not remain eligible for Arjuna Award," the plea submitted.

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