'Sports Play Significant Role In Development Of Citizens, Nation': HC

'Sports Play Significant Role In Development Of Citizens, Nation': HC

The act of not utilising the land for a sports complex for 18 years is “brazenly illegal and arbitrary”,the court said.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, July 03, 2024, 02:42 AM IST
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Bombay HC | File

The Bombay High Court has said that sports plays a significant role in development of citizens and the nation, and noted that it is high time the government becomes conscious of this fact and gives it equal or more importance than commercialisation and concretisation mantra.

The court quashed the 2021 decision of the state government to relinquish 20 acre land in Navi Mumbai for a government sports complex and shifting the same to a remote area in Raigad district terming it as “illogical and arbitrary”.

Sixty-one acres of land in Ghansoli was earmarked by CIDCO for the sports complex in 2003. Of this, 20 acres was reserved for a ‘government sports c-omplex’ and the remaining 41 acres of land was allotted to the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation for its sports complex.

However, in 2016, CIDCO allotted a portion of the land to a private developer for residential and commercial purposes.

The court said that the authorities are required to be alive to not only the present but the future rights of the citizens for open places, playgrounds, and sports complexes, to be enjoyed by the common man. “We may observe that considering the present plight of metro cities as Mumbai, Navi Mumbai or the adjoining areas have developed further concretisation and commercial exploitation on lands earmarked for such public facilities certainly needs to be curtailed,” a bench of Justices G S Kulkarni and Jitendra Jain said on Monday.

The judges remarked that the government sports complex was of paramount importance to children and youth who form the large mass of population in urban areas and it was wholly against the public interest to deprive them of a sports complex and availability of best sporting facilities.

“It is high time that these issues are also considered to be of equal importance than the commercialization and concretisation mantra,” the judges underlined.

The HC passed the order in a PIL filed by the Indian Institute of Architects, Navi Mumbai Centre challenging the state government’s decision to shift the sports complex from Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai to Mangaon in Raigad district. It also challenged CIDCO’s decision to allot part of the land to a private developer.

Quashing the government’s decision, the HC has directed CIDCO to hand over the land to the government forthwith. The court, however, stayed its order for four weeks on CIDCO’s request to permit it to approach the Supreme Court.

The entire approach of the government and the other authorities has been nebulous to the importance, which sports has achieved in modern times. “It ought to be the solemn obligation of a welfare state to encourage youth and children towards sports. This also contributes in creating a robust and healthy society,” it said.

The judges underscored that the developers’ appetite for development of lands and converting cities into urban jungles would remain unparallelled.

“It is for the government and the planners to ponder to the extent such concretisation can be stretched, more particularly, in the absence of supporting infrastructure and by sacrificing public amenities of utmost necessity being made available for the future generation, like gardens, playgrounds, recreation parks and sports complexes,” the judges added.

The bench added that policies introduced by the government towards welfare of sports cannot remain just on paper and need to be implemented. It added that it would be gross failure on the part of the government and other public bodies if such vital issues are overlooked and/or intentionally sought to be buried in creating urban jungles.

The act of not utilising the land for a sports complex for 18 years is “brazenly illegal and arbitrary”, it added. 

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