Player selection based on several factors, not as simple as comparing scores: Delhi HC
The high court dismissed petitions by table tennis players Manush Shah and Swastika Ghosh against their exclusion from the country's Commonwealth Games squad as there were no allegations of bad faith in their non-selection.
Selecting sportspersons to represent the country is based on numerous factors and cannot be as simple as comparing individual performance scores and litigations arising from the selection exercise may disrupt and impact the preparation and performance of the players, the Delhi High Court has said.
The court, while dismissing petitions by table tennis players Manush Shah and Swastika Ghosh against their exclusion from the country's Commonwealth Games squad, emphasised that a player must possess physical as well as great mental and emotional strength and agility to represent a nation and to participate and excel and it is thus pivotal that there should be no uncertainty in their minds.
The petitioners sought a direction to the Table Tennis Federation of India to include their names in the list of four selected players for the table tennis team for the Commonwealth Games 2022. The court said that in the present case, the concerned authorities examined the entire issue and finalised the names to be sent for participating in the CWG after taking into account all aspects and it "cannot substitute its view with the view arrived into by the Committee of Administrators and the Selection Committee" and be a "Super Selector".
"To represent a nation and to participate, perform and excel in the arena of international sports, a player must not only possess physical but great mental and emotional strength and agility. It is thus pivotal that there should be no uncertainty in the minds of the players. Such litigations may disrupt and impact the preparation and performance of the players. Thus, I consider that there is no substance in the present petitions. Accordingly, the petitions along with all the pending applications are dismissed," said Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma in the order passed last week.
"The court has to take into account that the Selection Committee/Expert Committee has to take into account numerous factors while taking the decision of selecting sports person to represent the country. This exercise cannot be as simple as comparing scores based on individual performances. In the present case also Committee of Administrator has weighed different factors and therefore, this court finds itself unable to interfere in the exercise of its power of judicial review," the court stated.
The court observed that the power of judicial review in the matters relating to sports can be exercised only if there is an allegation of bad faith and in the present case, there was the complete absence of any arbitrariness or malafide in the decision arrived at by the Committee of Administrators.
The court also considered an earlier order passed in another case and noted that if the powers of judicial review were to be extended into such matters, it would adversely affect the sports. "I am in complete agreement with the finding of this court that the court cannot appropriate to itself a position as that of a Super Umpire or a Super Referee or in the present case to the position of Super Selector," the court said.
The petitioners' grievances before the court were that their names were not included in the final selection list by the Selection Committee and the Committee of Administrators even though they fulfilled the selection criteria. They alleged that the process of the selection was correct and the persons included in the list or being proposed to be sent to participate in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) were much below the ranking compared to them.
The CWG is scheduled to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.