Manika Batra vs TTFI: Delhi High Court seeks Government’s stand

The Delhi High Court has allowed the Union Government two days to present its stand on the “serious” allegations made in Manika Batra’s petition against the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

In the petition that came up for hearing on Monday, Manika prayed “for an ad-interim ex-parte order staying the operation of the impugned rules and regulations dated 04-08-2021” (that made it mandatory for the selected players by the TTFI to attend the National coaching camp to be considered for final selection).

In addition, she also prayed “for an ad-interim ex-parte order directing the TTFI to include her in the Indian team for the Asian championship in Doha from September 28 to October 5.”

Manika alleged, in her petition, that coach Soumyadeep Roy pressurised her earlier this year to throw away a match to help his trainee Sutirtha Mukherjee qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The petition also seeks an inquiry by the Sports Ministry into the management of the TTFI.

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According to TTFI’s legal advisor, advocate Jinendra Jain, “Honourable Ms Justice Rekha Palli asked the respondents regarding the action taken on the allegations made by Manika. In response, the court was informed that an inquiry committee would look into the matter.”

Jain continued, “Appearing for Manika, advocate Sachin Datta told the court that the TTFI’s newly-formed rules and regulations issued on August 4 were tailor-made to deny Manika a place in the Indian team.”

In fact, on August 31 and September 6, the TTFI emailed Manika seeking her confirmation to join the coaching camp that started on September 2. The second mail mentioned, “If you are not joining the camp then you will not be considered for the Asian championships.”

Apparently, Manika did not respond.

The TTFI initially sent her name as part of the Indian team for Asian championships. However, on September 15, subsequent to Manika’s absence from the National camp that concluded on the same date, the TTFI found her ineligible for final selection.

On September 17, Manika sent a mail to the TTFI to include her name for the Asian championship and the following day, moved the Delhi High Court.

Meanwhile, the TTFI reconstituted the inquiry committee on Monday to look into the allegations made by Manika. The three-member panel comprises retired Justice Kailash Gambhir (Chairman), TTFI CEO Dhanraj Choudhary (member) and advocate Parth Goswami (member). This move followed the inability of Jain to be part of the original five-member committee, formed 10 days ago.

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