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PU Chithra files contempt petition against Athletics Federation of India

PU Chithra has filed a contempt petition against Athletics Federation of India, citing that the Kerala High Court had directed the federation to ensure her participation in the 1500 metre race in the World Athletics Championships.

other sports Updated: Jul 31, 2017 21:29 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Kochi
PU Chithra,Athletics Federation of India,AFI
PU Chithra’s won gold in the women’s 1500m event in the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneshwar and she filed the petition after being excluded from the Indian squad by the federation(AFP)

The Kerala High Court sought the response of the Athletics Federation of India on a contempt petition by PU Chithra alleging that the court’s order directing it to ensure her participation in the World Athletics Championships had not been complied with.

Justice PB Suresh Kumar ordered the AFI to file an affidavit tomorrow after Chithra’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, Chithra submitted said that though the high court in its July 28 interim order had directed 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 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,” Chithra 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 contended.

She sought action against AFI Secretary CK Valson, AFI Chairman G S Randhava and AFI President Adille Sumariwalla.

Chithra, 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.

In a related development, the AFI approached a division bench of the court seeking its permission to move an urgent appeal to expunge adverse remarks made by the single judge while passing the interim order.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh, however, declined permission and directed them to approach the single judge.

Justice P B Suresh Kumar, in his interim order on Chithra’s plea, 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.

The material on record disclosed that the petitioner had been sidelined and discriminated, it had observed.

Opportunities of the instant nature would come in the way of an athlete only once in a lifetime and if they miss the chance they may not get it again, it had said.

“It is seen that many persons who are nowhere close to the standards fixed for the IAAF world championship have been included in the Indian team,” the court had said.

In her main petition, Chithra had said her gold medal performance at the Asian championships made her an automatic pick for the world event.

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 Chithra had not been included in the team as she did not meet the qualifying mark set by the IAAF.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 21:26 IST