BCCI officials play down Law Commission’s RTI Act recommendation
A senior board functionary declared that the BCCI was not going to lose sleep over the Law Commission’s recommendation.cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2018 23:44 IST
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials have defended their stance against the cricket body being brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act), arguing the Board is not substantially funded by the government -- one of the criteria for am organisation to be made accountable under the law.
The Law Commission has said the BCCI falls under the definition of a public authority, declaring that non-consideration of the role played by the board in regulation of cricket as monopolistic has resulted in it flying under the radar of public scrutiny and encouraged opacity and non-accountability.
A senior board functionary declared that the BCCI was not going to lose sleep over the Law Commission’s recommendation.
“It is based on media reports that the BCCI is substantially funded by the Government, we are merely observers in this,” said the BCCI official.
“I don’t believe anyone from the BCCI was called to give their side of the story. Anyway, the BCCI is a very transparent body; details of any payment made above Rs. 25 lakh is shared on our website, our audited accounts are on the website. No one is going to lose sleep over it.
“A due process has to be followed, it has to be debated, there have to be discussions in the law ministry, which will then decide if they have to bring it to Parliament.”
Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said it’s a recommendation and Parliament has to pass a law. “The law of RTI says if you are substantially funded by the government then you can come under RTI. First, the law has to change and it can’t be changed only for the BCCI. It will affect many organisations ,” said Shah.
Shah said bringing BCCI under the purview of the RTI Act “will lead to straight interference/.”
“...there will be pressure put on selection matters by asking why so and so was not selected,” he said.
While the BCCI doesn’t receive funding from the government, the Law Commission seems to have taken into account that there are indirect benefits like getting land at subsidised rates for construction of facilities like stadiums and cricket academies, and relief being granted in income tax.
Shah said the BCCI and its associations have stopped taking indirect benefits. “Now every association is buying land to construct its stadiums. The Saurashtra Cricket Association has paid for the land (for a stadium) and also paid all taxes,” said Shah, a former secretary of the association.
“They are charging income tax to the BCCI and associations as well. It is up to Parliament to decide, let the government first debate over it. We have paid almost Rs. 2,000 crore in income tax,” said the BCCI office-bearer cited above.
Stanley Saldhana, a former BCCI manager for games development, also said the RTI was not a solution. “It will unnecessarily get into the way of functioning. It can be done with the right people at the right places. If the system is not in place, what is RTI going to do,” he asked.