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Karnataka High Court refuses to interfere with Ekalavya award norms, says it's policy matter

The petitioner had challenged the guidelines issued on August 24, 2015 issued by the Youth Services and Sports Department of the state government for award/allocation of marks for participation under the National Championship on par with marks allotted for participation in Senior National Championship.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 16:51 IST

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has dismissed the petition filed by V Varshith, a roller skating athlete, while refusing to interfere with the guidelines issued with regard to the Ekalavya awards.

Justice M Nagaprasanna has observed that courts have always exercised judicial restraint and circumspection over the wisdom of the policies of the Government or statutory authorities.

The petitioner had challenged the guidelines issued on August 24, 2015 issued by the Youth Services and Sports Department of the state government for award/allocation of marks for participation under the National Championship on par with marks allotted for participation in Senior National Championship.

According to the petitioner, he was not enlisted for conferring Ekalavya award at any point in time since the points are allotted differently for senior and junior levels.

On the other hand, the government advocate submitted that sports tournaments conducted at junior level are entirely different from National Championship at senior level. It was contended that the petitioner’s sport is a non-Olympic game and hence the marks would vary.

Justice M Nagaprasanna noted that it cannot be forgotten that the policy is only a course of action to deal with a subject matter.

“The courts have always exercised judicial restraint and circumspection over the wisdom of the policies of the government or statutory authorities, save in circumstances where such policy demonstrates caprice, arbitrariness, unreasonableness or is whimsical, so as to offend the tenets of Article 14 of the Constitution of India."

"This is the only parameter that would permit constitutional courts to tinker with the policy particularly of the kind impugned – a policy for conferring awards on sporting events,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The court further said, “To borrow the observation of the bench presided by Lord Justice Denning and the view expressed by Lord Justice Lawton, in Laker Airways vs Department of Trades, the role of a Judge is like referee, he can blow his judicial whistle when the ball goes out of play; but when the game restarts, the Judge must neither take part nor tell the players how to play."

"I deem it appropriate to paraphrase the said words to the issue in the case at hand. The ball of conferment of awards has not gone out of play, for this court as a referee to interfere and tell the state how to manage conferment of awards.”

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Published 24 June 2024, 16:51 IST

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