If sportspersons can get higher posts in other states, why not in TN: HC
Kaushik Kannan | TNN | Oct 30, 2020, 04:17 IST
Madurai: Madras high court on Thursday sought response from the state government on providing jobs in higher posts to sportspersons as Punjab and Haryana governments have done in the case of cricketers. The court was hearing a petition filed by A Gopikannan, a disabled sportsperson from Madurai who sought reemployment after being relieved from the post of watchman.
A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Mann Ki Baat in 2015, had suggested that instead of using the word ‘viklang’ [meaning ‘disabled’ in Hindi], ‘divyang’ or ‘divyangjan’ [meaning ‘one with a divine body”] should be used. When such a compliment is given by the PM, it is disheartening to note that the petitioner, who won several medals, was removed from the post of watchman and had knocked on the doors of this court.
It was only on the court’s intervention in 2019 that he was provided a job as an office assistant in August 2019, based on his Class IX qualification. The judges said it has been brought to their knowledge that boxer Mary Kom, who had completed Class VIII, was awarded the post of deputy superintendent of police (DSP) by the Manipur government. Similarly, cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Joginder Sharma were given the post of DSP by the Punjab and Haryana governments respectively. Cricketer Umesh Yadav, who studied up to high school, had been appointed assistant manager in Reserve Bank of India.
When Manipur and Punjab governments and even the central government recognized them by appointing them in higher posts, there should not be any bar on extending the same treatment to the petitioner by the Tamil Nadu government, especially as he had achieved it despite his disability. Hence, the judges sought response from the state government in this regard.
It may be noted that Gopikannan had bagged 41 gold, 19 silver and 17 bronze medals in events up to international level. He was appointed as watchman of the district rural development authority in 2003 after he swept clean the backyard of secretariat wearing all medals and trophies to attract the attention of the chief minister’s special cell. However, after he was relieved from the post in 2013, Gopikannan moved HC Madurai bench seeking re-employment. Meanwhile, the court gave time till November 10 for getting instructions from the secretaries to ministries of youth affairs and sports as well as social justice and empowerment on the queries it posed in 2019.