Delhi HC upholds suspension of para-swimmer Prasanta Karmakar
Karmakar was suspended for three years by the PCI in 2018 for allegedly recording videos of his female counterparts at the National Championships in Jaipur
The Delhi high court has upheld the suspension of para-swimmer and Arjuna awardee Prasanta Karmakar, holding that code of conduct cannot be breached not only by the athletes but also by the coaches.
Karmakar, appointed as swimming team coach for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games was suspended for three years by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) in 2018 for allegedly recording videos of his female counterparts at the National Championships in Jaipur.
The court was of the view that Karmakar had not only abused PCIs Chairman and its officials but also indulged in giving press interviews to bring down its interest.
“It cannot be said that the General Code of Conduct should only be followed by the athletes and not by a coach. The General Code of Conduct must equally apply to athletes and to all the members of the team, including the support staff of athletes and coaches. The discipline of the event cannot be permitted to be broken by any person who is participating in the event either as an athlete or as a coach or as a support staff of an athlete,” justice Subramonium Prasad observed in an order passed on Monday.
Justice Prasad in the 11-page verdict also observed that rules regarding the Code of Conduct cannot be read in a straight jacket formula that would promote indiscipline by a coach or any support staff of an athlete.
“Any such interpretation which would go against the very purpose of providing a Code of Conduct and cannot be permissible. Therefore, the word athlete used in Clause 19.1.6 would mean to include a coach and a support staff of an athlete who participates in the games and all of them cannot be permitted to misbehave or use of uncivilized language or indulge in unlawful acts or act against the interest of Committee and welfare and development of Para Sports,” the judge also said.
Karmakar appearing through advocate Varun Singh argued that PCI had no power to impose the punishment of suspension on account of misconduct.
He also added that a member can only be suspended in case of failure to pay annual membership, fulfilling membership criteria and complying with the obligations of members in the Constitution.
It was also argued that the three-year suspension was completely disproportionate, adding that recording of videos was neither prohibited in the rules and regulations nor prescribed in the code of conduct.