- Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the centre over specially-abled athlete Virendra Singh’s plea.
- Virendra had moved the Delhi HC, claiming discrimination by the Government in rewarding Deaflympians over Para-Olympians and Olympians.
- Justice Navin Chawla has now asked for a response from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as well as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the petition.
The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the centre over specially-abled athlete Virender Singh’s plea. Virender had moved the Delhi HC claiming discrimination in the Government’s rewarding policies to Deaflympians with respect to Para-Olympians and Olympians.
Justice Navin Chawla has now asked for a response from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as well as the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the petition. Virender Singh, popularly dubbed as the “Goonga Pahalwan”, is an Arjuna awardee.
Singh filed the petition via his lawyer Ajay Verma. The petition says that Virendra is an international Deaflympic Champion wrestler with 100 per cent hearing and speaking disability.
What is Deaflympics? What is the difference between it at the Paralympic Games?
The International Committee of sports for the Deaf holds the Deaflympics. It is the highest competitive international championship around the world for deaf athletes with a minimum hearing disability.
On the other hand, the Paralympic Games are the international multi-sport competition for athletes with physical disabilities or intellectual impairments. Athletes with mobility-disabilities, blindness, amputations and cerebral palsy compete in the Paralympic Games.
The matter at hand
The Government of India introduced the scheme of special awards in 1986. The scheme awards athletes and their coaches who bring home medals from international events. The goal of the centre was to incentivise the achievements of outstanding athletes while encouraging and motivating them for higher achievements.
Singh, who has three gold medals, and his advocate contend that the scheme only awards athletes participating in sports in the Olympics, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Chess. The plea argues that the current policy of rewarding medal-winning athletes in Olympics or Para Olympics is discriminatory to athletes winning medals in blind or deaf championships.
“In fact, Para Olympics are being treated at par with the Olympics and are getting the same cash rewards awarded by the government of India to the winner of the open category. However, the central government has made the deaf or blind championship as a separate category,” the plea reads.
Finally, the petition concludes by seeking direction to include Singh and other medallists from the International Deaf Olympics; other sports in the category of deaf/dumb into the Scheme of Sports Funds for Pension to Meritorious Sportspersons.