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Sports as Fundamental Right

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    17th May, 2022


  • Context
  • Background
  • Why playing sports is important for children?
  • Development benefits
  • Emotional benefits
  • Social benefits
  • What are the main recommendations of the report?
  • Initiatives by Government of India to promote sports


The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and States to respond to a report recommending sports to be expressly made a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.


  • Supreme Court’s amicus curiae, Senior Advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, has submitted a report to the Apex court suggesting that sports be made Fundamental Right.
  • This report has been submitted in response to the petition which was filed before the Supreme Court of India praying for sports to be made a Fundamental Right.

Why playing sports is important for children?

Developmental benefits:

  • Playing sport helps children learn to control their emotions and channel negative feelings in a positive way.
  • It also helps children to develop patience and understand that it can take a lot of practice to improve both their physical skills and what they do in school.

Emotional benefits:

  • Physical activity has been shown to stimulate chemicals in the brain that make you feel better. So playing sport regularly improves children’s overall emotional wellbeing.
  • Research shows playing sport improves self-esteem in children. 

Social Benefits:

  • Playing in a team helps children to develop many of the social skills they will need for life. It teaches them to cooperate, to be less selfish, and to listen to other children.
  • It also gives children a sense of belonging. It helps them make new friends and builds their social circle outside school.
  • An important part of playing in a team is accepting discipline. Playing sport means children are expected to follow rules, accept decisions and understand that they could be penalised for bad behaviour. It teaches them to take directions from the coach, referees and other adults. Sport also teaches them about team work.

What are the main recommendations of the report?

  • This report talks about ‘physical literacy’ instead of ‘sport’ as the former is considered to be a right in the leading sporting nations of the world.
  • It recommends directing all school boards to ensure that from the coming academic year i.e. 2022-23 at-least at least 90 minutes of every school day will be dedicated to free play and games.
  • The report also suggest that from the current academic year all non-residential colleges and schools should compulsorily allow access during non-working hours to neighbourhood children to use their playgrounds and sports facilities for free, subject to basic norms of identification, security and care.
  • It has also suggested that 180 days time should be given to educational institutions, which hosts students for more than 10 hours a week, to publish and disseminate to parents/guardians a ‘Physical Literacy Policy’ and create an internal committee to address specific cases where there is a failure in responsibilities to deliver the right to physical literacy of students.
  • This report has asked for the formation of empowered committee of senior officers from key ministries and independent experts from the fields of education, health, disability, sports, and movement.
  • This committee could be headed by a court-appointed convenor, who would provide regular reports to the court.
  • It shall also be the duty of this committee to actualise sport as fundamental right.
  • The repot has asked the Court to direct Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to create a dashboard with real time data on mapping of available playgrounds and open spaces and their utilization rates, availability and qualifications of physical education teachers, curricula, timetables, and equipment in educational institutions across the country.

Initiatives by Government of India to promote sports:

Khelo India Initiative:

  • The Khelo India programme has been introduced to revive the sports culture in India at the grass-root level by building a strong framework for all sports played in our country and establish India as a great sporting nation.
  • Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.

Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS):

  • It was formulated in 2014 with the aim to identify, groom and prepare potential medal prospects for Olympics. 

Practice Question

Q1. “Apart from academic education, physical literacy is also needed for overall growth and development of children’s mind.” In light of this statement, examine whether sports should be made a fundamental right.

Q2. National Physical Literacy Mission can help not only in grooming children for various sports to compete at the international level but also aid in the socio-economic development of the country. Examine


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