New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday said the case of boxer Manoj Kumar, who challenged the Arjuna Award committee's decision to not consider him for the honour, will be placed before the panel again and irrespective of its decision, the Sports Ministry will consider his eligibility for the award.
The ministry, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, also informed the Delhi High Court that the panel would give its decision uninhibited by the fact that another sportsperson from the same discipline has been recommended for the award.
The ASG informed Justice Vibhu Bakhru that Manoj was not initially considered for the award by the committee of 11 members as they mistakingly believed that he was involved in a doping case. He also informed the court that thereafter, a representation was made on the pugilist's behalf after which the panel sat again, but without giving reasons, the committee rejected his plea.
On the basis of the ministry's statement that Manoj's case would be considered afresh by the committee and thereafter by the government also, the court disposed of the interim applications seeking stay of the Arjuna award ceremony as well as for reconsidering him for the honour. The court, however, listed the main petition seeking quashing of the selection committee for the Arjuna Awards for the year 2013-14 for further hearing on December 17.
The petition also sought "reconstituting of the committee for the Arjuna Award to include a majority of sportspersons as per the earlier scheme". The court on August 26 while issuing notice to the Sports Ministry had directed it to produce records on both the composition of the committee and the criteria used by the panel for choosing Arjuna awardees.
The controversial recommendation of boxer Jai Bhagwan for the prestigious Arjuna Awards had led to Kumar approaching the sports ministry officials, who, he said, had assured him that his name would be added to a list of 15 athletes in a review meeting.
But the selection committee in its review meeting on August 19 decided not to make any changes in the original list, which led to Kumar moving the high court. Kumar had recently competed in the 64 kg category in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but lost in the quarterfinal round.