Supreme Court Rejects Plea To Recognize Hockey As India's National Game

The Supreme Court of India dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari seeking directions to the Union of India (UOI) and other concerned organizations to recognize hockey as the National Sport of India. The decision was taken by the apex court’s bench headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, and also chaired Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi.

Supreme Court Rejects Plea To Recognize Hockey As India's National Game
Representative image for hockey (Reuters)

The Supreme Court of India dismissed public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari seeking directions to the Union of India (UOI) and other concerned organizations to recognize hockey as the National Sport of India. The decision was taken by the apex court’s bench headed by Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, and also chaired Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi.

Tiwari, in his petition, asked the court, “If the country can have a national animal, then why can’t the country have its national game.” The plea urged the court to issue directions for the government for the development of Athletic Games and Sports, and provide advanced training and funds to the players, reports LiveLaw.

The petition, in further averments, added, “While India is a superpower in Cricket and produces some of the brightest minds and leaders, it struggles in other areas. In the shadow of Cricket, the game of hockey has lost its popularity in light of lack of initiatives and support from UOI.”

Expressing their disagreement with the petition, the presiding judge, Justice UU Lalit, said, “There should be a drive within people. Players like Mary Kom rise above all adversities. The court cannot do anything.”

“We won’t be able to do anything. You may withdraw the petition, or we will dismiss it,” said the bench expressing their disinclination to entertain the petition. Tiwari eventually withdrew the PIL.

Despite the court dismissing the petition, the bench expressed their agreement and sympathy with the petitioner but also noted that they cannot issue direct orders to the government in this regard.

The petition recognized the fact that despite India being one of the greatest dominators of the game, it was not able to receive any Olympic accolade for more than 40 years. The unfortunate spell of the game broke in Tokyo Olympics when the Indian hockey contingent bagged a bronze medal and brought a fresh wave in the world of Indian hockey.