Finding prima facie contempt, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday referred to a division bench a contempt plea filed by PU Chitra alleging that its order directing the AFI to ensure her participation in the World Athletics Championships had not been complied with.
The court rejected the Athletic Federation of India’s (AFI) plea that more time be granted for filing an affidavit in the case.
The AFI sought more time, citing the assignment of the AFI office-bearers in London for the world meet to be held from August 4 to 14.
Finding prima facie contempt in the case, Justice PB Suresh Kumar referred the petition filed by Chitra for consideration to a division bench of the high court.
The court had on Monday ordered the AFI to file the affidavit on Tuesday after Chitra’s counsel submitted that co- athlete Sudha Singh was included in the Indian squad after the cut-off date (for entries) while the July 28 interim order of the court on her (Chitra’s) inclusion had not been implemented.
In her contempt plea, Chitra had submitted that despite the court’s interim order directing the AFI to ensure her participation in the 1500 metre race in the world meet to be held from August 4 to 14, the respondents had not complied with the order in letter and spirit.
The respondents have received the interim order and simply written to the International Association of Athletic Federation, pointing out that the high court has passed an interim order to that effect, the petitioner had said.
“There is no request by the respondents pointing out that the non-inclusion of the athlete was on account of a mistake committed by them, which has to be rectified,” Chitra had said in her petition.
The conduct of the respondents besides being reprehensible amounts to wilfully flouting the orders of the court as well as showing contempt to the authority of the court, the petitioner had contended.
She sought action against AFI Secretary CK Valson, AFI Chairman GS Randhava and AFI President Adille Sumariwalla.
Chitra, who had recently won a gold in the women’s 1500m event in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar, filed the petition after she was excluded from the Indian squad by the federation.
The judge, in his interim order, had directed the government, AFI and Sports Authority of India (SAI) to make all arrangements to ensure that the athlete participates in the 1,500 metre event at the world athletic championship.
The court had also observed that the selection process for the championship appears to be not transparent and qualified athletes were ignored.
In her main petition, Chitra had said her gold medal performance at the Asian championships made her an automatic pick for the world event.