Engage Kids in Sports to Stop Them From Spending Time on Gadgets, Says Supreme Court

26 Apr, 2022 15:10 IST|Sakshi Post

The Supreme Court used the example of VVS Laxman, the head of the National Cricket Academy, whose parents were physicians but who chose cricket as a vocation. The bench stated, "We need more and more of these guys to emerge."

The Supreme Court nominated prominent counsel Gopal Shankararaynan as an amicus curiae in 2019 to investigate the concerns.

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday urged the Centre and states to respond to a plea that asked the Constitution to make sports or physical literacy a fundamental right, stating that immersing youngsters in sports will be beneficial since otherwise, they will spend more time with electronics.

"Children involved in sports will be doing something very useful, otherwise they will end up spending time on gadgets)," a panel of justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai stated in response to a plea filed by Kanishka Pandey in 2018 to establish sports as a basic right under Article 21A.

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The Supreme Court, which appointed senior advocate Gopal Shankarnaraynan as an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to investigate the issue in 2019, believed that one suggestion, in particular, requiring sports facilities in schools to be open after school hours for neighbourhood children to play sports, should be investigated.

According to the bench, many students who excel in school sporting competitions do not regard sports as a career. "Many students do well till class 12, and after that they forget about it." The court used the example of cricketer VVS Laxman, who was born into a family of doctors but decided to pursue cricket as a career.

"Very few people would make that choice. We need more and more of such people to emerge," the court remarked while instructing the Centre and states to react to the amicus curiae's interim recommendations.

Shankarnaraynan presented a paper to the court last month arguing that "physical literacy" should be designated a basic right in the country instead of "sports." To that aim, he proposed that the Center create a national physical literacy mission (NPLM), develop a curriculum, provide digital tools for teacher and instructor training, and require all school boards to devote 90 minutes each day to sports and games.

Shankarnaraynan reasoned that all school education boards be directed to ensure that, from the next academic year, "at least 90 minutes of every school day will be dedicated to free play and games, and all non-residential colleges and schools shall 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."

All registered and unregistered private and public education institutions that host students for more than 10 hours per week must have a physical literacy policy that acknowledges the institution's legal commitment to integrating physical literacy into all aspects of its curriculum, according to the recommendations. It also discussed the necessity of a dashboard that included real-time data mapping of available playgrounds and open spaces, as well as their usage rates, the availability and credentials of PE teachers, curriculum, timetables, and equipment at educational institutions across the country.

"In India, unfortunately, sports is not seen as a career," said senior counsel Vikas Singh, who represented the petitioner. The state of Andhra Pradesh told the court that it has a physical literacy programme that emphasises having a sports facility in every taluk.

The bench remarked that Andhra Pradesh has produced successful badminton players and that wrestlers from Haryana have followed suit. "Additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj, appearing for the Centre, said, "The Centre is all in support of sports." The bench, on the other hand, noted that amicus' ideas would have "wide-ranging implications" and that a final ruling could only be issued after hearing from the different nations.

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