Wednesday 25 November 2015


N. Ramachandran with the award in 2011
Supreme Court has once again intervened in a matter concerning sports. This time, the highest law body of India has stayed the Delhi High Court's order which concerns the incumbent president of World Squash Federation, N. Ramachandran and the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, he was awarded in 2011.

The Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar was the latest addition to the list of awards presented by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Instituted in 2009, the objective of the award is to encourage and promote involvement of corporates, voluntary organizations, sports control boards etc., in the promotion and development of sports in the country.

"The conferment of the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is the highest award that the government can bestow. It is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of the coaches and trainees of the Indian Squash Academy," said the WSF President at the time of being honoured in 2011.

However, on 31st August this year, based on the directive from the Delhi high court as a result of a PIL filed by former squash players questioning the eligibility of N. Ramachandran for the award, the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had to revoke the award. The order also directed the Sports Ministry to amend the existing selection committee (changed on 12.2.2015) and to revert to the original composition, which had the presence of eminent sports athletes in the selection panel.

This order came at a time when N. Ramachandran was facing a lot of pressure both in India (involvement with IOA) and abroad (World Squash).

Led by the Professional Squash Association (PSA) along with some National Squash Federations, a 17-point document prepared by the aforementioned parties strongly criticised the WSF at the 45th World Squash Conference & Annual General Meeting (Nov 4-6) held at Nice, France. They even asked the president of the world governing body, N. Ramachandran to submit his resignation following the unsuccessful bid attempts to include Squash in the Olympics.

N. Ramachandran who has been at the helm of the World Squash since 2008 and has one more year to go before his current term ends. For now, the Supreme Court's intervention on November 16th comes a respite against his critics - "Until further orders, there shall be stay of the operation of the judgement, an order passed by the High Court of Delhi in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 2989 of 2013, dated 31.08.2015.”

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