No more exemptions to erring NSFs: High Court

NEW DELHI: Several of the country’s national sports federations (NSFs) run the risk of losing government recognition if they don’t comply with the Sports Code, 2011. These include gymnastics, handball, national yogasana, tennis volleyball, mallakhamb, motor sports, equestrian, rowing, golf, squash racket, yachting and polo. The Delhi High Court, in its order dated May 26 which was uploaded Monday evening, has directed the Union of India (UoI) to ensure that no further exemptions was granted to erring NSFs that have not yet amended their constitutions as per the provisions of the code. A two-judge bench of Justices Najmi Waziri and Vikas Mahajan noted that unless a NSF/sports entity/registered society/association strictly adheres to and fully complies with the code and the court orders, it would disentitle itself from any such benefit. The court observed that there can be no let-up or latitude in this regard, as relaxation would be arbitrary, illegal and lend to dilution of the code. “Let secretary, ministry of youth affairs and sports, ensure that the constitution of NSFs concerned gymnastics, handball, national yogasana, tennis volleyball, mallakhamb and motor sports as well as equestrian, rowing, golf, squash racket, yachting and polo is made available by them to the ministry by Monday. The same will be examined preferably during the course of the week and to the extent that they are not in compliance with the Sports Code, directions/notices shall be issued apropos suspension of their recognition,” the bench’s aid. Rejecting UoI lawyer Anil Soni’s submission that some more time be granted to respondents to ensure compliance and conformity with the legal regime governing sports administration, the bench noted: “There comes a stage in the affairs of governance when the recalcitrant have to be called out and there has to be cessation of their unlawfully enjoying government largesse, a privilege for which they do not qualify. Nor can they be allowed with their faulty NSF status to generate revenues from other sources. Twelve years is a long time to enable sports bodies to conform to the code. The time to stop is now.” The court’s order came on a petition filed by sports activist and lawyer, Rahul Mehra, who has been demanding compliance of the code and court orders by the errant NSFs. In June 2020, the sports ministry had withdrawn the annual recognition of all 54 NSFs following a Delhi HC order on the matter. FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIAFacebookTwitterInstagramKOO APPYOUTUBE