The mandarins of Indian sport do not want to give the citizens of this country the right to question their functioning.
Indian Olympic Association secretary-general, Randhir Singh, has written a letter dated March 31, incidentally the last day of financial year 2009-10, to the government informing that the body would no longer need funding from it.
"As the autonomy of the National Olympic Committee of India - the Indian Olympic Association is supreme, the Indian Olympic Association would like to desist from receiving any further financial support from the government of India from financial year 2010-11," the letter said.
Taking financial assistance from the government would mean fulfilling obligations under the Right to Information (RTI) and opening itself to questions on its functioning.
The Sports Ministry had categorized all associations getting financial assistance from the government as 'public authority' and made it mandatory for all sports bodies — IOA, Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) and national sports federations - to be RTI compliant.
Though the IOA had designated its executive officer, George Mathew, as the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) following the ministry orders, by rejecting financial assistance and harping on autonomy, it has clearly indicated that it would not like to subject itself to any public scrutiny.
The Sports Ministry had declared IOA as public authority in December 2006 and the OC in November 2007.
Both bodies had challenged the order before the Delhi High Court.
The court, in January this year, rejected their contention that they were autonomous bodies and thus not obliged to be RTI compliant.
The IOA has now shown a way out of the entire RTI issue to other national federations that can afford a similar move and reject government funding.
It remains to be seen how the IOA arranges funding for the contingents it sends to the Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games, to name just a few.