No decision yet on granting recognition to sports federations, Centre tells HC

The Centre informed the Delhi High Court on Friday that it has not yet taken any decision on granting recognition to National Sports Federations (NSFs) and it be will placed before the court when finalised.

The submission was made before a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Najmi Waziri a day after the Supreme Court said the central government was not required to seek the consent of the high court before granting recognition to sports bodies.

The apex court order of Thursday came on an appeal filed by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports against three high court orders which prohibited it from taking any decision on granting recognition to national federations without prior approval of the court.

The top court also asked the high court to dispose of the petition, filed in 2010 by advocate Rahul Mehra, in which it had passed the orders restricting the ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) from taking any decision without its prior approval.

On Friday, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K M Nataraj and central government standing counsel Anil Soni, appeared for the ministry and urged the bench to commence hearing the main petition and examine whether any relief needs to be granted or are the issues raised in it already addressed by the authorities.

The court agreed with the ASG on that and told Mehra that it will see on the next date what are the issues, if any, that survive in the matter.

It also told the ASG that the ministry had last year committed before the court to come back with the finalised new sports code which would supersede the earlier one of 2011, but nothing has been done till now.

The court also asked whether the existing sports code was being adhered to by the NSFs.

It also asked the ministry what happens to the NSFs whose elected members’ tenures have run out.

In response to the queries, the ASG said finalising a sports code was a policy matter and when a policy has to be changed or notified is up to the government.

He also said that the sports code of the government was binding on all and that NSF’s who members tenures have run out will function as per their by-laws.

The court, however, pointed out that if the tenure is over, then those members cannot spend the money of the NSFs nor avail the benefits granted to those sports bodies by the ministry.

“They cannot run the show,” it said and, thereafter, listed the matter for hearing on November 6.