Delhi HC Asks Central Government to Respond After Hearing Manika Batra's Plea

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The Delhi High Court has asked for the Centre's stand on a petition by ace Table-tennis player Manika Batra, who was left out of the India team for the upcoming Asian Table Tennis Championships, attacking the Table Tennis Federation of India's (TTFI) mandate of compulsory attendance at the National Coaching Camp in order to be selected.

Justice Rekha Palli has granted two days to the central government counsel to take instructions on the petition, which alleges that once, the national coach Soumyadeep Roy, had pressurised Batra to throw away a match to enable one of his personal trainees to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and seeks that the Sports Ministry probe the matter.

The matter will be heard next on 23 September.

Also Read: TTFI Questions Manika Batra's Timing of Allegations Against National Coach

The judge said the allegations against the coach were serious and the Centre should be a little proactive.

"There is something to be said. We have a high ranking player. We have to balance... If there are such senior allegations against the coach, Union of India has to be a little bit proactive on this," said the judge.

"Let them (Centre) come back with instructions. Ultimately she is the highest-ranking player in the country today," the judge added.

Senior counsel Sachin Dutta, appearing for Batra, said that by virtue of a rule on mandatorily attending the national camp, her chances for the 25th ITTF Asian Table Tennis Championships, 2021, which is to be held in Doha from September-October, has been scuttled in spite of her fulfilling all merit-based criteria.

He urged the court to stay the rule to enable her to participate in another international event scheduled for November.

"There is an event in November. This regulation be stayed immediately. It will kill my career," Dutta said as he highlighted that personal coaching is encouraged in several other sports.

The counsel for the federation denied all allegations and said that the national coach was not even present at the national camp.

In the petition, Batra has alleges that TTFI was carrying out selection processes in a non-transparent manner, targeting certain individuals.

Also Read: Manika Batra, G Sathiyan Win Mixed Doubles Title in Budapest

She further added that the national coach, in a clear conflict of interest, was running a private table tennis academy simultaneously.

This incident happened on 17.03.2021 in respect of the match to be held on 18.03.2021 at the Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament, 2021 organized by ATTU. Not only did the Petitioner refuse to comply with such an unethical, illegal and immoral request, but she also immediately communicated this to the Adviser, TTFI, on 18.03.2021, the plea alleges.

"After conclusion of Olympics, the Respondent No.1 (federation) issued Rules and Regulations dated 04.08.2021 (received by the Petitioner on 27.08.2021) informing her that attending of National Coaching Camp is compulsory, failing which she would not be selected for any upcoming international event," it says.

(With Inputs from ESPN and PTI)

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