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Centre, states asked to reply to proposals for greater physical literacy

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre and states to respond to interim suggestions made by amicus curiae Gopal Sankaranarayanan in a petition seeking to recognise physical literacy as a fundamental right by amending Article 21 of the Constitution. The bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai listed the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

In his submission, senior advocate Sankaranarayanan said physical literacy is not just about sports, but it’s about knowing own body and staying fit throughout one’s life.

On the previous date, Sankaranarayanan had filed a three-volume report seeking changes in the Constitution, central and state policies, and school administration and management.

The report was filed in a 2018 PIL filed by Kanishka Pandey for recognising sports as a fundamental right.

Sankaranarayanan’s submission, however, has been challenged by the petitioner by stating that the object of the PIL, as mentioned by the amicus curiae, is not just to prepare the player, but to explore different aspects of the sports and to develop physical fitness, mental fitness, character building, combating depression and establishing social harmony.

Sankaranarayanan had stated, “One common outcome of all these exchanges is that rather than using the phrase ‘sport’ which is narrow, it would be better to adopt the phrase “physical literacy”, one that is firmly established as a right in the leading sporting nations of the world.”

The report titled- From Stasis to Movement – Actualising a Fundamental Right to Physical Literacy in India – has advocated for minimum 90 minutes of physical education and games daily.

“The report vouches for physical literacy and has contended that it’s a broad term. The report submitted by the organisation to the Learned Amicus Curiae has failed to gather the vision and understanding of the petitioner. They have considered a very myopic aspect of sports i.e., talent promotion, competition and producing professional sportspersons. As has already been stated above, it is just a very small fraction of the huge potential of sports which the report has failed to encapsulate,” the petitioner said in a statement.

“Moreover, focusing on the term physical literacy over sports, demeans the value of sports and will, in particular, fail to highlight factors like 16 values, depression, social and communal harmony,” he added.

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