The Madras High Court has said it is "disheartening" to note that state governments are interested only in encouraging cricketers and are ignoring other games.
The observation came on a plea seeking a direction to authorities to treat sportspersons, especially intellectually disabled in Asia Pacific Special Olympics Games, on par with those participating in the Olympic Games and to extend all benefits to them.
When the petition came up Tuesday, a division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar issued notice to the Centre and state government asking them to respond by April 24.
The bench in its order said, "It is very easy for a normal person to achieve in the Olympics, whereas disabled persons, especially intellectually disabled like children of the petitioners, taking part in the Olympics and achieving something is very difficult."
"Such persons cannot be compared with the normal people and even they should be given more awards... Therefore, the Central and state governments have to respond by April 24," it said.
The judges said it was "disheartening" to note that all the state governments were interested in appreciating and encouraging only cricketers by ignoring other games in consonance with the popularity it had earned.
It said all sportspersons should be treated and encouraged equally, so that every sportsman is awarded for their achievements.
The court cited the discrimination shown by the central and state governments in respect of distributing cash incentives to normal sportspersons and the intellectually disabled.
A normal sportsperson, who wins a gold medal in the Olympics gets cash incentive of Rs 75 lakh from the central government and Rs 2 crore from the state, whereas the intellectually disabled persons are given only Rs 50,000 by the state government and Rs 5 lakh by the central government, the court said.
The court pointed out that it was in violation of Section 3 of the Persons with Disabilities Act.
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