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Delhi High Court upholds validity of National Sports Code

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Friday upheld the validity of National Sports Code capping age and tenure of office bearers in the India Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSFs).

A division bench of Justice Ravinder Bhat and Justice Nazmi Waziri said: "The central government can insist upon adherence to these provisions (sports code), without the aid of legislation."

It held the provisions of the sports code are "neither arbitrary" nor does it "violate any freedom under the Constitution".

"The tenure restrictions impugned in this case can and are insisted upon as part of the public interest in efficient and fair administration of such NSFs."

The Sports Development Code 2011, framed by the government, barred more than 12 and 8 years of tenure for president and other office-bearers including secretary and tTreasurer, for any sports federation with maximum age of 70 years to officiate.

The court judgment came on a petition filed by IOA challenging the implementation of the sports code on sports bodies on the ground that the government does not possess any power to impose through guidelines, restrictions on the functioning of autonomous bodies such as IOA and NFSs.

The bench, commenting on the current state of sports in the country, said: "Sport administration, the way it is run in India, through coterie, cabals, manipulations and intrigues, seems to discourage a vast majority of the population to devote itself to athletics, shooting, judo, table tennis, gymnastics, soccer, boking, fencing and the like."

"As the cliche goes, the state of sports is in a lock jam where roughly 1.2 billion people have to rest content with a harvest of medals so meager as to be surpassed by just one individual like Michael Phelps," it added.

It also remarked that the country's six medal tally in the London Olympic meant only one medal was won for roughly every 207 million inhabitants.

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