The cricket Board faces a fresh challenge to fend off efforts to bring the cash-rich national body under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The sports ministry’s new draft National Sports Bill says only those federations coming under RTI can use ‘India’ to denote the national squad. Although there is some distance to cover before the BCCI can be forced to fall in line, it is the last thing the Board would want, caught up in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal in the Indian domestic Twenty20 league. The panel headed by retired judge Mukul Mudgal submitted the draft bill to the ministry on Wednesday.
The key section of the draft bill that should make BCCI feel uneasy is this — Clause (h) says, “In order to represent India in international events and to have a right for a particular sport federation to use ‘India’ or ‘Indian’ in the sport scenario, the federation shall have to comply with Chapter IV (Unethical practices in Sports) and Chapter IX.”
The BCCI is not registered as a national sports federation (NSF). It has stoutly opposed efforts to bring it under RTI, arguing that it does not receive government grants.
The draft will go before the Union Cabinet and will then have to be passed by Parliament to become law.
BCCI’s interim chief, Jagmohan Dalmiya, said: “We will talk to the BCCI lawyers and decide on the future course of action,” he said.
The BCCI working committee meeting is due to be held in Kolkata on July 28.
Although in the past the Supreme Court has held that the BCCI was not a state body under the meaning of Article 12 of the constitution, it subsequently held the Board to be a public body discharging public functions.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) verdict last month bringing political parties under the RTI ambit too has implications for the BCCI.
A “public authority” is obliged to appoint an information officer to dole out information to the public in accordance with provisions of the RTI Act.
The sports ministry had filed an affidavit before the CIC contending that the BCCI is a “public authority” and hence is covered under the RTI Act.
Secretary, Sports, PK Deb, told PTI that if the BCCI refused to come under the RTI, the national team could be stripped of the ‘India’ tag. “But it is too premature to say anything at this stage.