The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the central government to ensure participation of PU Chitra in the World Athletics Championships in London next month, reported PTI. Justice PB Suresh Kumar, in an interim order, directed the government to make all arrangements to see that Chitra participates in the event.
The court also observed that the selection process for the championship appears to be not transparent and qualified athletes were ignored. The case will be considered on Monday for detailed hearing.
The court had sought an explanation from the central government on the exclusion of the Kerala athlete from the Indian squad for the championships. Hearing Chitra’s petition against the decision by the Athletics Federation of India, Justice Suresh Kumar had asked the Centre to disclose the source of funding for international events.
Chitra, who had recently won a gold in the women’s 1500m event in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar, filed the writ petition after she was excluded from the Indian squad by the Federation.
In her plea, she said her gold medal performance at the Asian Athletics Championships made her an automatic pick for the World Championships. Her coach NS Sijin had told The Field that her exclusion was a clear case of conspiracy.
We are yet to be heard by the Court: AFI
Reacting to the Court’s directive, the AFI said that it has not been heard so far in the case.
AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said that the lawyers representing the federation have not presented their argument so far.
“The honourable Kerala High Court has passed an order. But we have not filed any reply so far, our lawyers are yet to present their arguments in the case. We got the petition (filed by Chitra) at 4pm last evening and some pages were not very clear,” Sumariwalla said.
“Our lawyers expect to present argument in the case on Monday and they (the lawyers) will deal with the matter accordingly,” he added.
It is understood that the AFI would find it difficult to include Chitra in the Indian contingent as the entry of athletes for the global flagship event has been closed.
Earlier, AFI President Adille Sumariwalla had quashed all conspiracy theories in a release stating the reasons for the omission of three athletes, including Chitra’s while backing Swapna Barman and Govindan Laskhmanan’s entries.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had backed Chitra and said in a Facebook post that excluding the athlete, who was the “pride not only of Kerala, but also the country, from the team for World Athletics Championship, is condemnable”.
Former national champion PT Usha had said that Chitra had not been included in the team as she did not meet the qualifying mark set by the International Association of Athletics Federations.