The Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the Sports Ministry for seeking its consent to grant provisional recognition to 57 National Sports Federation (NSFs) until September 30, observing that such practice without ascertaining whether they are following the sports code cannot be allowed to go on.
“We cannot allow the provisional system to go on without the NSFs following the sports code. That is not going to happen. You (Sports Ministry) put your house in order. We want them to comply with your own code,” a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Najmi Waziri said.
The bench also declined an interim order granting permission to provisionally recognise the NSFs in view of various sporting events, including Olympics next year.
“… Is it fair to allow you? Can we close the right of the non-applicant? Coming at the last minute, does not mean that, we will allow you,” the bench remarked.
It further said that the order, in which it had directed the Indian Olympic Federation (IOA) as well as the Sports Ministry to not take a decision in relation to the federations without informing the court, is of February 7.
It said that when the process for grant of recognition commenced in January this year, the ministry did not come before it and now it cannot ask for an urgent interim order.
The court clarified that, it would not pass any order without first hearing the other side and listed the matter for further hearing on August 7.
On June 24, the High Court had directed the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) to revoke the recognition to the NSFs it had granted in June.
Following which, the ministry has filed an application contending that, “non-renewal of annual recognition of NSFs is detrimental to the overall development of the sports especially the sportspersons who are otherwise presently demoralised due to Covid-19 since all training and competitions were put on hold.”
The application was filed in a PIL by sports activist and lawyer Rahul Mehra, filed in 2010, who sought proper regulation and control in the functioning of numerous federations.
It was, on his petition, that the high court had directed in the past that all the NSFs have to adhere to the National Sports Code.
— Rahul Mehra (@TheRahulMehra) July 3, 2020
On the Sports Ministry’s application, the court issued notice to Rahul Mehra and sought his stand on the issue in three weeks.
The court asked Mehra to indicate in his affidavit which of the 57 NSFs were not adhering to the sports code and which are, so that provisional recognition may be granted to those complying with the code.
Flagging that “the entire process will come to standstill”, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and Central Government Standing Counsel Anil Soni, appearing for the Sports Ministry, urged that the permission to grant provisional annual recognition to 57 NSFs be given so that they can commence training of sportspersons for the Olympics next year.
Observing that ‘in teeth of the order dated February 7, 2020, MYAS has on its own proceeded to provisionally renew the annual recognition in respect of 54 federations’, the High Court on June 24 had asked the sports ministry to ‘issue a fresh notice within two days intimating all 54 NSFs concerned that its order giving provisional renewal till September 30, 2020, stands recalled.
Following which, the ministry on June 25, withdrew the annual recognition of all NSFs.
The annual recognition from the ministry is of high importance for the federations, especially the smaller ones, as they largely depend on the government for funding to manage their everyday expenses.
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