Uttarakhand HC takes cognisance of Virat Kohli’s video, seeks Centre’s reply

    Taking suo motu cognisance of a video released by cricketer Virat Kohli highlighting the importance of playgrounds for children in small residential colonies and localities (mohallas), the Uttarakhand high court on Monday issued notices to the state government and the Centre, directing them to respond within two weeks on whether there is any such policy under the ‘Khelo India’ initiative under which playgrounds/sports facilities can be created for such children.

    Virat Kohli attends playing members during a break in the Asia Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and India in Colombo. (AP)
    Virat Kohli attends playing members during a break in the Asia Cup cricket match between Bangladesh and India in Colombo. (AP)

    The division bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal gave the directions while hearing the suo moto PIL titled ‘Let The Children Play by Increasing the Facilities of Sports’.

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    In the video – ‘Virat Kohli Wants to Let Kids Play’ – Virat Kohli is seen helping the children of a colony to get back the cricket ball from a woman in the colony after it lands in her house and explaining why allowing children to play in such spaces is important for grooming sports talent in the children. Kohli ends the 2.52-minute video with the message “Let the children play…because it all starts from here…”

    Rajeev Singh Bisht, deputy advocate general of the HC, said, “The court while taking suo moto cognisance of Virat Kohli’s video has sought a response within two weeks from secretary sports Uttarakhand, director sports directorate Uttarakhand, director urban development Uttarakhand, principal secretary, department of women empowerment and child development Uttarakhand and Union ministry of youth affairs and sports on whether there is any such policy under the Khelo India initiative under which playgrounds can be prepared for such children to play.”

    Lalit Sharma, counsel representing the central government in the matter, said the HC noted that these days due to the lack of playgrounds children are staying mostly indoors and due to this their all-round development, especially physical development is getting affected.

    The next hearing in the matter has been fixed on October 9, he said

    Under the Khelo India scheme, the central government’s vision is to strengthen the sports ecosystem in the country at the grassroots level. It aims at infusing sports culture and achieving sporting excellence in the country through playfield development, community coaching development, promotion of community sports, the establishment of a strong sports competition structure at both school and university level, filling up critical gaps in sports infrastructure and implementation of a national physical fitness drive for school children.

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