Ambit of Sports Law in India
Updated: Jan 18
India is now being involved in more and more games, as the year passes. At the same time, it is high time for India to structure an adequate Legal framework, as the sports have been globally recognized as the method for advancing health, education, and development. India has been holding several national and international sports events and as the time is rolling up, it has set up numerous rules and regulations.
However, The Indian Judiciary seems not to be very interested in the sports jurisprudence. This statement can be supported as it is evident from the courts, who refrains itself from taking up the issues relating to sports. This incompetence of the Indian Judiciary can is contributed due to the lack of sport expertise in our country, take the imperative decisions regarding the matters, and the inability to form an opinion regarding the decisive measures. Where other countries like the USA, China, or Canada had gone too far in sports law development, India is yet to catch up with the development in this area, although there are numerous sports authorities.
Magna Karta of Indian Sports law
Zee Telefilms Ltd. & Anr .v. Union Of India & Ors is one of the important cases, where the Indian Judiciary has rendered a significant judgment in the Indian Sports jurisprudence. The issue in question, in this case, was BCCI's arbitrary termination of broadcasting rights agreement. Zee Telefilms, being the aggrieved party, filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution. However, a writ under Article 32 can only be filled against authorities that come within the meaning of 'State' under Article 12 of the Constitution. The court in its majority judgment ruled that BCCI did not constitute State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution. Although, in his minority opinion Justice Sinha opined that BCCI is State. Throughout his judgment, he featured the significance of Sports in India with explicit reference to cricket.
After the ZEE telefilm case, numerous cases have emerged in sports law. The contemporary importance of sports has been discussed in the case of K. Murugan .v. Fencing Association of India, Jabalpur. The issue under consideration was regarding the election of members to the executive council of the Indian Olympic Association.
Flaws in existing Indian Sports Jurisprudence
The existence of Numerous sports Authorities is useless unless it is a governing body. But in India, unfortunately, the sports experts in India remain dormant and hence it is an ungoverned body. the Focal sports authority, other than the Ministry of Sports Affairs, is absent. In Zee Telefilms .v. Union of India, the Supreme Court touched upon this issue. It said that "the Sports bodies largely remain unaccountable to the state or any other central body inside the territory of India, which however should not be the case considering the importance of sports in the modern arena".
India lacks the law such as exclusively for the sports and the matters related to the sports are mainly dealt with in other areas of law, such as the Competition law, The public Gambling Act 1857, etc. Acts such as gambling, betting, or match-fixing, are some of the major concerns regarding sports. These are the determinants that would contaminate the very spirit of the game or a sport. Although these come under the different ambit of law, it should be conglomerated and extend the scope of legal remedies available in the Sports jurisprudence. as of now, any action against an offence related to the sports could be only dependent on the precedents of numerous cases relating to the sports.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Swathi. Ashok. Nair is currently pursuing Law at the School of Legal Studies, CUSAT, Kerala.
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