In the context of the government nominating cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha and legal luminary Subhash Kashyap said on Sunday that sports was not a category mentioned in the Constitution under which a nomination to the Upper House could be made.
He added the government should clarify under which category Tendulkar's nomination has been made.
“Sports are not mentioned in the Constitution as a category under which a person can be nominated as Rajya Sabha MP. The nominations can be made under the categories art, literature, science and social service,” Kashyap told Hindustan Times. “The government should tell us under what category he has been nominated.”Article 80 of the Constitution, which says the government can nominate 12 persons to the Rajya Sabha apart from 238 elected members, reads, "The members to be nominated by the President… shall consist of persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as the following, namely: literature, science, art and social service."
A perusal of the list of nominated members does throw up one name related to sports. Wrestler Dara Singh was the 100th nominee to the Rajya Sabha in 2003, but he was described as “sportsperson and artiste”.
“Dara Singh is an artiste, as he acted in films and serials. But there is none till now who is just a sportsperson,” said an Opposition Rajya Sabha MP not wanting to be named.
Specifically asked whether he saw Tendulkar's nomination as unconstitutional, Kashyap said, “I am not saying this. These are matters of interpretation. Someone may argue that since cricket as a sport entertains millions in India, it is a kind of social service. That's why the government should clarify its position.”
Kashyap's intervention is the latest among a series of reactions to the nomination of Tendulkar to the House of Elders. Politically, some saw it as a Congress masterstroke to gain the legitimacy associated with him.
Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray sarcastically said it was a matter between the Congress and Tendulkar. Team Anna was also not convinced.