SPORTS LAW IN INDIA- THE NEED FOR AN HOUR

Sports is one of the most important thing in the life of a human being since his/her birth. It is considered as one of the most important physical activities to remain fit, active and healthy. From the beginning of our childhood, we are often told by our teachers and parents to at least make any sport our hobby, so that we can keep ourselves active.

Primarily sports were invented by men as a means to meet socially with others, to display skills and for entertainment purpose. India is fast rising as a preferred venue for major sporting events such as Commonwealth games, Asian Games and World Cups of Hockey, Cricket and others which attract a lot of people.

But somewhere between the historical lineage of sports and sports in the modern era there is a gap of enthusiasm and encouragement. Little importance is left for sports at grass root level in India with every school concentrating only on academics.  

Over a period of years, India has turned itself into a hosting ground for numerous national and international sporting events. Sport in India is listed as a State subject under the Constitution of India under the Seventh Schedule (33rd entry). There is neither a national nor state legislation for the regulation of sports in India. The Government of India set up The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to create the infrastructure and promote sports for the achievement of excellence in various national and international competitive sporting events.

Even though, promotion of sports is the responsibility of National Sports Federation, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs had issued guideline time to time regarding various schemes of NSFs. However, over a period of the past few decades, the sporting world has been plagued by controversies and scandals. With the commercialization of sporting events problems relating to licensing, media rights, sponsorship, and ethical sporting practices are cropping up all over the world and India is no exception.

The Constitution of India reflects the power of making laws relating to sports both by the Parliament and the State Legislatures. However, there is no such major legislative enactment to regulate the field of sports in India. Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs has been framing and issuing comprehensive guidelines known as “National Sports Development Code of India” in the past in 1975, 1988, 1997 and 2001 in pursuance of successive National Sports Policies. These sports code is published in Gazette of India so that all National Sports Federations can follow it. Among States, various states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana have exercised legislative power in their respective jurisdiction and have enacted laws on regulating sports activity including registration, regulation and recognition of Sports Associations (Uttar Pradesh has since repealed the Act).

With the compilation of all existing instructions in the form of a single document, National Sports Development Code -2011 was formulated to enable better compliance with the basic universal principles of good governance in sports, which would, in turn promote a strong sporting culture and sports excellence in the country. The Right to Information Act, 2005 has been another legislation enabling access to information about functioning of National Sports Federations receiving grants from Central Government.

ADMINISTRATION BODY OF SPORTS IN INDIA: –

We cannot deny the fact that the administrative set-up plays an important role in promoting and developing sports. The major bodies governing and regulating sports activities in India are:

  1. Sports Authority India (SAI)

SAI was set-up by the Government of India on 16th March, 1984, it was set-up with the objective of implementation of the existing schemes, promotion and development of sports activities to sponsor and encourage people to conduct various kinds of research works which are being done with the objective of bringing development in the sports and games, to construct and utilize various kinds of residential facilities for players and other persons which are engaged with sports in some way, planning, developing and utilizing various kinds of facilities and infrastructure which are necessary for conducting sports events, construction of various centers where training relating to various sports events can be provided, to make provision of various kinds of essential assistance which are required to organize championships or tournaments at various levels, organization of seminars and conferences in which various aspects relating to sports activities can be aroused, to make arrangements for funds so that various tournaments or competitions can be organized.

  • National Sports Policy-

The National Sports Policy was formulated in 1984. The objective of the Policy was to raise the standard of the Sports in the country.

  • Sports Law and Welfare Association of India-

Working with the aim of bringing Legal Practitioners and Sports persons together, the Sports Law and Welfare Association of India (SLAWIN) is a national non-profit and professional organization. It works with the objective of understanding, advancement, and ethical practice of Sports Law in India for the promotion of Sports and provides consultancy on various matters i.e. regulation of sports governing bodies, general sport and law issues, intellectual property issues in sport etc.

  • The Sports Broadcasting Law of India-

The Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act was passed in 2007 so that large number of viewers can be provided access to sporting events of national importance through mandatory sharing of sports broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharati and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Act provides that without simultaneously sharing the live broadcasting signals with Prasar Bharti a live television broadcast of sporting events of national importance on any cable or Direct-to-Home network or radio commentary broadcast in India shall not be carried by any content right owner or holder television or radio broadcasting service provider.

SPORTS AND POLITICS; –

The relation between sports and politics is as old as them. Rulers and politicians have always promoted sports and games. Controversies in sports often arise due to the interference of politics. Although the aim of Olympics Games is to bring all the athletes from all over the world into a peaceful competition.

CONCLUSION: –

The process of sports law reform has gained momentum and would not die a quick death. But the fact that till now there has not been a single concentrated legislation on sports law, in itself is a disgrace. In spite of many scams in the field of various sports during last few years no serious consideration on the enactment of sports law has being undertaken. Presently, any legal aspects of sports overlap with the rules of that specific sport along with other legislations like law of contracts, competition law, labour laws etc. Sport in India is a growing industry not only due to the sports played but also due to the huge media coverage it receives and the amount of money it involves. Elections in sports is only due to the political sentiments of others.

Thus, the parliament should make a legislation on sports, so that sports is given a major importance in our country, so that every sport person is recognized, and treated equally with the winners.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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