Chennai: The Madras high court has said all the sportspersons should be treated equally and encouraged equally, so that, every one of them is awarded for his/her achievements.
A division bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar made the observation while passing interim orders on the petitions filed by P. Thirumaran and Vijayalakshmi. In their petitions, Thirumaran and Vijayalakshmi sought a direction to the authorities to treat the sportspersons - intellectually disabled persons in Asia Pacific Special Olympics Games – on par with the sportspersons in Olympics Games, extend all the benefits to them both monetary and service benefits. The bench said the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the intellectually disabled persons took part in the World Summer Special Olympics Games at Abu Dubai, 2019. The petitioner's daughter secured gold medal in the said Olympics.
Stating that the Centre as well as the state government failed to appreciate the laurels brought by the petitioner's daughter and similarly placed persons in individual cases, they have come before this court, the bench added.
The bench said it was stated that throughout India, 160 children secured gold medals and India stood first in the Olympics. Though Haryana government has already provided employment opportunity to the winners as well as offered cash awards, no such cash awards or employment opportunities have been given by Centre and State.
The bench said TN sportspersons viz., intellectually disabled children got 9 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 5 bronze medals and all those persons have come to this court. The discrimination shown by the Central and state governments was evident from the fact that when a normal sportsperson was able to get gold medal in Olympics, he was awarded Rs 75 lakh by the central government and Rs 2 crore by the state government, whereas the intellectually disabled persons who got gold medals in Olympics was given only Rs 50,000 by the state government and Rs 5 lakh only by the central government. This was in violation of section 3 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, the bench added.
The bench said it was very easy for a normal person to achieve in the Olympics, whereas the disabled persons especially intellectually disabled persons like children of the petitioners, taking part in the International Olympics and achieving something was very difficult. Therefore, these persons cannot be compared with the normal persons and even they should be given more awards and more amounts, whereas it was reversely happening....