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  • The Supreme Court directed that 36 football players (24 male and 12 female) be represented in the electoral college for the upcoming executive committee election of the All India Football Federation, arguing that the "National Sports Code, 2011" cannot be read in the manner of a statute. 
  • The bench made these observations in response to the argument that, according to the National Sports Code, only State Federations have the right to vote on AIFF management. 
  • Senior Advocate Dr. Menaka Guruswamy argued on behalf of 35 State Associations that the National Sports Code allows only State Federations to vote in Executive Committee elections.
  • She went on to say that the sportsperson can only vote in the AIFF's management. As a result, it was argued that allowing athletes to vote in the upcoming elections would be in violation of the National Sports Code. 
  • Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, representing the Union Ministry of Sports, argued that the National Sports Code is an enabling document and should not be interpreted as a restrictive document, and he supported the inclusion of 36 players in the electoral college.
  • A Bench comprised of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and J.B. Pardiwala read the provisions of the National Sports Code holistically to approve the proposal of the Committee of Administrators, tasked with the constitution of the executive committee of the All India Football Federation, to include representation of 36 football players (24 male and 12 female) in the electoral college for the AIFF's upcoming executive committee election. 
  • The Court cited the relevant Sports Code provisions, namely Clauses 9.3(12), 3.9, 3.10, and 3.20 of the Model Election Guidelines.
  • The Court also noted that, while Clauses 3.9 and 3.10 granted only State Federations the right to vote in General Body meetings, they must be read in conjunction with Clause 3.20, which contemplates the appointment of prominent athletes as members of sports federations on a tenured basis. 
  • The Court reasoned that the phrase "say 25%" in Clause 3.20 implies that 25% is only an indicative figure and that the extent of voting rights could be decided after consultation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. It stated that the National Sports Code, like a statute, cannot be read strictly.
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