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Plea To Declare Sports As Fundamental Right : Petitioner Objects To Amicus's Emphasis On "Physical Literacy"

Sohini Chowdhury
21 March 2022 4:46 PM GMT
Plea To Declare Sports As Fundamental Right : Petitioner Objects To Amicuss Emphasis On Physical Literacy
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On Monday, the Amicus Curiae, Senior Advocate, Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan in a plea, inter alia, seeking directions to the Union Government to form a High-Level Committee to make suggestions on amending Article 21A to include Sports as a Fundamental Right apprised the Supreme Court that a report had been filed by him. In the said report, at the outset, Mr. Sankaranarayanan, upon...

On Monday, the Amicus Curiae, Senior Advocate, Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan in a plea, inter alia, seeking directions to the Union Government to form a High-Level Committee to make suggestions on amending Article 21A to include Sports as a Fundamental Right apprised the Supreme Court that a report had been filed by him. In the said report, at the outset, Mr. Sankaranarayanan, upon consultation with various stakeholders, had observed that it is better to adopt an all-encompassing phrase "Physical literacy" instead of the narrower phrase "Sport".

Senior Advocate, Mr. Vikas Singh, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, before the Bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai submitted that in the writ petition the petitioner had emphasised on 'Sports', whereas the report of the Amicus Curiae had shifted the focus to 'Physical Literacy'. He claimed that the ambit of physical literacy being too broad would include yoga and other activities which are in essence not sports. He indicated that in that sense, the Amicus's report has deviated from the plea of the petitioner.

"I appear for the petitioner. My emphasis was sports and with great respect to the Amicus, he is taking it to physical literacy which is a completely different thing. It would include yoga and other things. Whereas sports is a mental and physical activity combination."

He added -

"I wanted to point out that he is taking us in a different direction."

Mr. Sankaranarayanan stated that the petitioner and his Advocate-on-Record had approached him and only after detailed deliberation with them, and taking the petitioner's recommendation into consideration had Mr. Sankaranarayanan proposed to make appropriate submissions before the Court. He was surprised that, now the petitioner has appointed Mr. Vikas Singh, who argued that the Amicus had diverted from the issues raised in the writ petition.

"I have very strong reservations about the conduct of the petitioner. The petitioner and his Advocate-on-Record got in touch with me. We had a detailed conference the day before yesterday. I told him that I would take into consideration his recommendations and make an oral submission. Now, he engages a senior counsel who comes and says that I am trying to divert attention of the court from initial issues."

The Bench directed the matter to be taken up on another date, when the submissions of both the Amicus and the Counsel for the petitioner could be heard in detail.

Background:

Apart from seeking direction to include Sports into the ambit of Article 21A, the petition also seeks to include a DPSP in this regard, which provides that "State shall strive for promotion of Sports education, sports values and sports culture as part of education". It also prays for sports to be transferred to the 'Concurrent List' for cooperative work between Centre and State; to develop a 'Fund Bank for Education and Sports Facilities'; form an independent "Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth Empowerment" at Union and State level; direct Union and State Governments to amend curriculum from Nursery to Secondary levels, even in Sanskrit Schools and Madrassa, to promote sports ; free distribution of sports kits by Governments across the board; sports facility & playground at village and school level; teaching sports as a full time subject in schools; make compulsory provision for Sports in school budget, and appoint a Nodal School in each District to provide facilities, train students and organise events/workshop.

[Case Title: Kanishka Pandey v. Union of India W.P.(C) No.423/2018]

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