Report No. 275
RTI Laws & Sports Bodies: Human Rights Perspective
4.1 Globally, sports have influenced different aspects of human life ranging from physical and mental well-being, professional employment, interpersonal relationship development, acting as a social bridge between diverse races and communities to even acting as an arrow in the quiver of statecraft. The relation between human existence and sports is uniquely intricate; and, what, therefore, inevitably ensues, is the interplay of sports with human rights.
4.2 The dicta of human rights, being universal in its application, cannot be discounted by sporting organisations. Restrictions on the free flow of information erodes the cardinal democratic values enshrined in the Constitution of India. Denial of information aids the abuse of power by selected segments of the society by excluding the masses politically, socially and economically. The concept of human development is directly linked to human rights. A rights-based approach demands participation in governance and development, which guaranteed access to information can provide.44
4.3 Sports bodies even though traditionally autonomous, are gradually being brought into the fold of regulation due to the monopoly status of these bodies, their scale and intrinsic public nature of their functions. Rampant malpractices in these entities and related issues broadly denote the need for application of human rights law to these bodies. However, an impediment faced in this regard is the understanding of how human rights can be enforced against private bodies, including sports federations.
4.4 This chapter would reflect on this firstly by elucidating on right to information as a human right, secondly by examining the principles governing the application of human rights law to private bodies, and thirdly by examining human rights in the context of sports.