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Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Stand On Plea By Tennis Star Manika Batra Against TTFI For Dropping Her Name For Asian Championship

The Court noted that Manika Batra is the highest-ranking player in the country and suggested that there should be some balance in taking such decisions.

Indian table tennis star Manika Batra (Photo Credit: PTI)

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Monday sought Centre’s stand on the petition filed by table tennis player Manika Batra against the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) for dropping her name for the Asian Championship.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli asked the counsel appearing for Centre Government to take instruction on the petition filed by table tennis player Manika Batra. The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 23.

The Court has granted two days time to take instructions to the Centre and clear its stand on the petition. The Court noted that Manika Batra is the highest-ranking player in the country and suggested that there should be some balance in taking such decisions.

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Batra, an Indian Table Tennis player of international repute, ranked 56th in the world and the highest-ranked Indian Women player internationally. She filed a petition on account of the omissions and commissions of the Respondent The Table Tennis Federation of India and issuing the Rules and Regulations for National Camps dated 04.08.2021 which she said are the face, arbitrary, capricious and unsustainable.

“In spite of the Petitioner having brought laurels to the country, as recently during the Tokyo Olympics, 2020, she has been left out of the contingent being sent for the 25th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships, 2021 to be held in Doha from 28.09.2021 to 04.10.2021,” the petitioner said.

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Advocate Apoorv Kurup was representing Centre in the matter while Senior Advocate Sachin Dutta and lawyer Akshay Amritanshu were appearing for petitioner Batra.

The petitioner Batra said that the background facts leading to the issuance of Rules and Regulations dated = August 8, 2021, are that Respondent Soumyadeep Roy had earlier sought out the Petitioner and pressurized her to sign a letter written to the Respondent Centre, recommending Roy’s name as the National coach of the Table Tennis contingent to represent India in the Summer Olympics, 2020.

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The Petitioner was sent a draft recommendation letter by Respondent Roy himself, which she politely refused to sign. After the conclusion of the Olympics, the Federation issued Rules and Regulations dated August 4 2021, which Batra received on August 27, informing her that attending of National Coaching Camp is compulsory, failing which she would not be selected for any upcoming international event.

“Table Tennis is an individual sport, which requires specialised training with support staff. Only the personal coach would know the strengths, weaknesses, skills and areas which a player should focus and strengthen. However, these Rules do not permit any personal coach/support staff. Therefore, the Rules of 04.08.2021 are arbitrary, irrational, absurd and have no nexus with achieving excellence in an individualised sport, such as table tennis,” the petitioner said.

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A player undergoing training with her support staff would be severely prejudiced and her performance would be seriously affected if the Rules are not quashed, the petitioner urged.

Therefore the petitioner Batra has urged the Delhi High Court to grant an ad-interim ex-parte order staying the operation of the impugned rules and regulations dated August 4. She also sought direction to concerned authorities to include her name in the contingent representing India at the Asian Table Tennis Championship to be held at Doha from 28.09.2021 to 05.10.2021 She sought to quash the Rules and Regulations titled “Rules and Regulations for National Camp” dated 04.08.2021 issued by Respondent Centre.

She also sought direction to the Union of India through the Ministry of Youth Affairs to enquire into the management of the Federation, conduct of Roy and other officials of TTFI under the supervision of this Court.

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