The Delhi High Court has noted that sports is a celebration of fair play and there can be no clandestine ways to win, as that would not be a sport while dealing with a plea by former hockey player Aslam Sher Khan — who was a part of the winning team that won the gold medal in the 1975 Hockey World Cup.
The plea of the former Olympian was challenging the appointment of Narinder Dhruv Batra and Elena Norman as Life Member and CEO, respectively, of Hockey India.
“Often the heart-beat of a nation is hinged on that subtle nick to the ball into the goal-post, in the last moments of a game,” observed the bench of Justices Najmi Waziri and Swarna Kanta Sharma in Wednesday’s order.
Sports does not merely infuse a spirit of healthy competition among players, spectators, and enthusiasts, it also gives people a unifying cause to rally behind, of course, with much passion and fun, the bench noted.
“But, above all, it teaches discipline and respect for rules and to acknowledge the legitimate winner. It is a sublimation of physical energies and mental alacrity in a fair competition, to acknowledge a clear winner. It is a celebration of fair play. There can be no clandestine ways to win, as that would not be a sport. Fairness on the play-field, admirable skills of players, unity of purpose, teamwork and coordination, etc. are qualities and values which any sport, played fairly, imparts and instills in society,” the order stated.
Invoking the objective of the Sports Code, the bench said, it reads: “…Sports development is a national priority, as it promotes an active lifestyle, child and youth development, social inclusiveness, employment opportunities, peace and development, and above all a sense of belongingness and national pride…”
In the order, the bench held that Hockey India has violated the National Sports Code and constituted a three-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run its day-to-day affairs.
The CoA would be at liberty to take the assistance of the respondent on the holding of tournaments, selection of players, and all other matters necessary for the proper governance of the sports body.