"Not State's duty to organise sports"

High Court rejects petitions

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: It is not the duty of a welfare State to organise sports for the public, the First Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled.

Underlining the legal limitations of judges exercising writ jurisdiction, the Bench comprising the Chief Justice Markandey Katju and Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla dismissed public interest litigation petitions seeking to direct the authorities concerned to honour a resolution to build a sports stadium at Namakkal. They said: "After the World War II the concept of a welfare State was confined not merely to defence and law and order. It also extended to the general welfare of the public. The duties of a welfare State is to provide health, education, etc. But, such duties cannot be stretched beyond certain limits, and providing sports is not part of the public duty of a State, even if it is a welfare State."

The Judges said that there were financial and other constraints involved in such activities, and that it would not be proper for courts to direct "that a stadium or a drama hall be constructed."

Reiterating that Judges should be aware of their legal limitations and that they too were subordinates to law, the Bench said, "judges must not cross the legal limits and principles which are well settled. A judge sitting in writ jurisdiction cannot do anything he pleases."

Dismissing the petitions , they said writ would lie only if some public duty was involved, and where there was an error or breach or violation of any law. Noting that it did not see any violation of any statute or rule to warrant a judicial order, the Bench said, "in our opinion, setting up a sports stadium is not a public duty."

The ruling came on PILs filed by the Retired Officials Association of Namakkal; Anti-Corruption Movement; Namakkal District Consumer Protection Commission; and the District Chess Association, seeking a direction to the authorities concerned to build a stadium at Namakkal.

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