The court stressed that judicial interference in expert-driven judgments is limited unless the criteria are perverse or unreasonable


Case No: W.P.(C) 5438/2024 & CM APPL. 22456/2024

Decided on: 15th May , 2024


Facts of the case

The appellant asked the court for permission to compete in the 50-meter Rifle 3 Position Women Category at the Paris Olympic Selection Trials. The dates of these trials were set for April and May of 2024, respectively, in New Delhi and Bhopal. The appellant had competed in the women’s 50-meter Rifle 3 Position competition both domestically and internationally. Interestingly, she competed for China in the 2022 Asian Games and was a member of the squad that earned a silver medal. In October 2022, the NRAI set the standards for choosing the Olympic Shooting Teams. The NRAI revised the eligibility requirements and added more constraints in November 2023. The appellant claimed to have met the initial 2022 requirements.


1. Whether the NRAI’s November 2023 adjustment to the selection criteria was fair and justified, given that the initial criteria had been established In October 2022?

2. Whether does the appellant now face unfair disadvantages as a result of the rule change?

Legal Provisions

The Indian Constitution’s Article 226 specifies the High Court’s writ authority.

Appellant Contentions

In the aforementioned case, the appellant, through her attorney, contended that the November 2023 amendment to the NRAI selection criteria was unjust and amounted to altering the rules of the game after it had already started. The appellant was disadvantaged by this change because it changed the eligibility requirement that she had initially sought to meet. The appellant underlined that, under the initial criteria, she should have been eligible for the selection trials because, as per the QROG points, she ranked fourth nationally, higher than some of the selected athletes like Nischal and Shriyanka Sadangi. The appellant claimed that she would have been one of the top five qualified shooters for the 2022 competition if the original 2022 criteria had been applied.

Respondent Contentions

In the aforementioned matter, the Respondent, via their legal representative, was satisfied that modifications to the ISSF calendar—which prolonged the qualifying event deadline and multiplied the chances for athletes to raise their rankings were the reason for the modification of the selection criteria. In order to choose the best athletes from a bigger group, the Respondent claimed that the altered criteria increased the pool of participants in the selection trials. The Respondent further claimed that this was done in good faith in an effort to improve the caliber of the squad.

Court Analysis and Judgement

After reviewing the Paris Olympic selection trials’ 2022 and 2023 requirements, the court concluded that the National Research and Analysis Institute (NRAI) had made the revisions In response to modifications to the ISSF timetable. The court stressed that judicial interference in expert-driven judgments is limited unless the criteria are perverse or unreasonable and found the 2023 criteria legitimate in their attempt to choose the top athletes from a wider pool. Despite the Appellant’s superior QROG ranking, the court decided that the athletes’ selection was warranted based on the national ranking as a whole. Both the Appellant’s application and any ongoing applications were dismissed by the court. The court reviewed the 2022 and 2023 criteria for the Paris Olympic selection trials, determining that the amendments were introduced by the National Research and Analysis Institute (NRAI) in response to changes in the ISSF calendar. The court deemed the 2023 criteria reasonable, aiming to select the best athletes from a larger pool, and emphasized that judicial intervention in expert-driven decisions is limited unless the criteria are perverse or unreasonable. The court acknowledged the Appellant’s higher QROG ranking but ruled that the overall national ranking justified the selection of those athletes. The court dismissed the Appellant’s application and any pending applications.

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Judgement Analysis Written by – K.Immey Grace

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