SC asked to recognise physical literacy as fundamental right

For educational institutions, within 180 days, all registered and unregistered private and public education institutions that host students for more than 10 hours per week
Last Updated : 18 March 2022, 12:39 IST

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The Supreme Court has been asked to direct the Union government to recognise physical literacy as a fundamental right by amending Article 21 of the Constitution.

In a three-volume report, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan asked the court to direct the government to bring about changes in Constitution, central and state policies, and school administration and management.

He asked the court to direct the government of India to establish the National Physical Literacy Mission (NLPM) to give effect to the right by establishing and implementing a responsibilities matrix that includes curriculum design, compliance monitoring, and review, grievance redressal and self-correction mechanisms.

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

After holding consultation with various stakeholders and receiving inputs from state governments, Sankaranarayanan said, "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, entitled as “From Stasis to Movement – Actualising a Fundamental Right to Physical Literacy in India”, suggested all school boards including CBSE, ICSE, State Boards, should be directed to ensure that from the academic year commencing 2022-2023, at least 90 minutes of every school day will be dedicated to free play and games.

"All state governments should ensure that with effect from the academic year commencing 2022-2023, 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," it said.

For educational institutions, the report said, within 180 days, all registered and unregistered private and public education institutions that host students for more than 10 hours per week, must publish and disseminate to all parents or guardians a physical literacy policy, and create an internal committee to address specific cases on failure in responsibilities to deliver the right to physical literacy of all students, cases of discrimination or deficiency.

Among others, it suggested the court to direct the Ministry of Education, through the Department of School Education and Literacy, to form an empowered committee or working group, consisting of senior officers from key line ministries and independent experts from the fields of education, health, disability, sports, and movement. The committee could be headed by a court-appointed convenor, who will provide regular reports to the court and devise a strategic blueprint for actualising the fundamental right.

With regard to digital initiatives, it said the court may direct the MeitY supported by NITI Aayog to create a dashboard with real time data on mapping of available playgrounds and open spaces and their utilisation rates, availability and qualifications of teachers, curricula, timetables, and equipment in educational institutions across the country.

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Published 17 March 2022, 19:26 IST

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