Mere Participation In National Games Does Not Guarantee Sports Quota: J&K High Court

The Hon’ble Jammu & Kashmir High Court recently examined whether every sportsperson with mere representation at a National or International level is entitled to a reservation under the J&K Sports Policy, regardless of his performance, position, proficiency, or talent, and answered in the negative.

The petitioner in the instant case had filed a writ of mandamus seeking directions to the respondent university for his admission to the Ph.D programme in Civil Engineering under the sports category. The petitioner’s application had been rejected by the university on the basis of a communication by the Sports Council citing his ineligibility under the category. The petitioner, having single participation at the National level, was not found eligible for selection.

The petitioner had challenged the rejection, citing that it was violative of Government Order No. 808-GAD of 2008 dated June 17, 2008, and Rule 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir Certification of Outstanding Proficiency in Sports Rules 2008 (Rules of 2008, for short). He further contended that since his sports certificates were forwarded to the respondent-Sports Council, for authentication only, it exceeded its jurisdiction by declaring him ineligible for selection.

The court observed that the legislative intent of the rule making authority, is evident from the use of the words “Outstanding” and “Proficiency”, in the Rules of 2008 that reservation is available only to the sportspersons, who have not only achieved an outstanding performance but are proficient or have excelled in a particular sport, achieved or secured one of the first three positions, or participated twice or more in the same discipline in the National Championship to their credit.

Further, although certificates were submitted to the sports council for authentication purposes, as per clause 6.3.3, the Sports Council is the sole authority to decide the eligibility of a candidate applying under the sports category, and it is obliged to verify and authenticate as to whether the certificates issued to a candidate fall within the purview of the policy of the government in vogue.