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Deaf Sportspersons Have To Be Treated On Par With Para-Athletes: Delhi High Court To Centre

Nupur Thapliyal
25 Jan 2023 10:12 AM GMT
Deaf Sportspersons Have To Be Treated On Par With Para-Athletes: Delhi High Court To Centre
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The Delhi High Court has observed that deaf and para sportspersons have to be treated equally and neither category can be discriminated against the other.

Justice Prathiba M Singh was hearing the petitions moved by four sportspersons in 2020, who won medals in several international events. They have been assessed with having 100% disability in hearing and speaking. By way of the petitions, they sought equal treatment of deaf sports persons with other para-athletes.

It was their case that sportspersons who participate in Deaflympics, being deaf, would be deserving of the same status as those who participate in Olympic games.

The petitions referred to the Committee International of Silent Sports (CISS) Congress 2011 where a decision was taken at international level to accord the same status to Deaflympic games as to the Olympic games and Para-Olympic games.

The petitioners highlighted that the cash awards and other schemes available for other sportspersons do not apply in the same manner to persons with disabilities and for Para-Olympic sports. The pleas prayed for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to frame proper policies in respect of deaf sports as well.

Noting that considerable changes have been brought, in respect of encouragement given both to general sportspersons and those with disabilities, since the pleas were filed, the court said that latest scheme shows that recognition in form of cash awards and other benefits has been extended not only to para sportspersons but also those participating in blind and deaf sports.

Justice Singh observed that the issuance of such schemes, awards and benefits, etc. is in the realm of policy of the government.

The court said that while in general there can be no doubt that persons with disabilities ought not to be discriminated against, the announcement of policies and schemes is to be done by the government and a specific benefit cannot be directed by the court.

“In principle, there can be no doubt and even the Court confirms that deaf sport persons and para sport persons would have to be treated equally and neither category can be discriminated against the other. However, on the specific issues highlighted by the Petitioners, this Court is of the opinion that the same ought to be considered by the Respondent, after taking an overall view of the matter,” the court said.

The court disposed of the pleas with a direction that the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports would take a decision on the issues raised "in a manner which is fair to persons suffering from speaking and hearing disabilities."

“The said decision shall be taken within a period of three months from today. In the meantime, since there are certain tournaments which are stated to be going on, if any interim support is to be given, the same shall be considered within four weeks,” the court ordered.

Title: VIRENDER SINGH v. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. and other connected matters

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 80

Click Here To Read Order


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