Equestrian withdraws writ petition against EFI even as Delhi HC lambasts Federation
“The Court finds deprecates the stand of the Federation that they are raising the issue of the financial burden if an athlete becomes eligible to participate in the Asian Games," the judgement read.
The Chirag Khandal v/sEquestrian Federation of India (EFI) court saga reached a conclusion earlier this month with the Delhi High Court coming down heavily on the national federation.
Khandal, 19, had filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court last year alleging that the EFI is sabotaging his opportunity of representing India at the now-postponed 2022 Asian Games.
Khandal had emerged as the best performer in the national trials for the Asian Games conducted from 1st September 2021 to 15th May 2022 in the 'Eventing' category. However, the EFI decided to hold fresh trials once the continental event was postponed by a year due to the prevailing covid-19 conditions in the host country China.
Chirag Khandal, in his petition to the Delhi High Court, contended that the criteria for the new selection trials were in violation of the EFI Statues.
The petition alleged that the Secretary General of EFI Colonel Jaiveer Singh, in violation of the National Sports Code 2011, removed the entire selection committee of EFI and no such committee exists to select the Indian team for the upcoming Asian Games.
It also pointed out that the dates for the new trials were detrimental to him and other athletes and that it was impossible for him to prepare for the trials on such short notice since his mare Veni Vidi Vici was in France.
The Federation, in its defence, maintained that the fresh trials will be conducted between March to May 2023 followed by a national coaching camp, allowing the petitioner (Chirag) adequate time to prepare.
The Delhi High Court duly noted the same and in its judgment said that it understands that the petitioner will be able to compete in the trials between March and April 2023 and will also be eligible to attend the national coaching camp, provided he is able to meet the required MER.
"It is clear that the petitioner would be able to participate in the trials during the months of March and April 2023. Further, if the petitioner is able to meet with the required MER, he will be eligible to participate in the coaching camps from the month of May onwards," the court said.
Delhi HC lambasts EFI
However, things got ugly when the EFI expressed its reservations of financially supporting Khandal even if he wins the trials for the Asian Games.
Though the Delhi High Court refused to put forward its opinion of the same, it came down heavily on the federation to have even raised the issue of financial burden.
"The Court finds it extremely saddening and deprecates the stand of the Federation that they are raising the issue of the financial burden if an athlete becomes eligible to participate in the Asian Games," the court said.
"Though the issue with regard to the financial burden is not before this Court and this Court is not expressing any opinion on the same, however, this Court deprecates the stand of the Federation to even have raised the issue of financial burden if meritorious athletes bring laurels to the country by participating in the prestigious sports event like Asian Games," it added.
Chirag Khandal, on his part, also decided to withdraw the current writ petition for now on instructions. The equestrian, however, reserves the right to file any proceedings in future, if the need arises.