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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Rajasthan government plans legislative changes to clean up sports in state

Government is planning to amend the Rajasthan Sports Act 2005.

jaipur Updated: Mar 28, 2018 21:26 IST
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Urvashi Dev Rawal
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
The last RCA elections had seen a lot of drama.
The last RCA elections had seen a lot of drama. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The state government is planning to amend the Rajasthan Sports Act-2005 in an attempt to sanitise various sports organisations that are mired in disputes, litigations and politics.

The changes would be in keeping with the recommendations of the Justice NK Jain committee, which was set up by the Rajasthan State Sports Council to look at ways to develop sporting activities in the state. The legislative action will be carried out in compliance with a high court directive.

“Clubs at the district level are currently not registered with the sports council, and this is the root cause of the disputes. There is a lot of politics happening, with various claimants fighting for recognition as the official body. Sports suffers as a consequence,” said additional chief secretary JC Mohanty, who is also the president of the Rajasthan State Sports Council.

Mohanty said the government’s aim was to ensure that such institutes don’t just exist on paper. “We will only recognise clubs that actively pursue sporting activities,” he added.

Many office-bearers of sports associations in the state are politicians, and they often refrain from conducting elections or following the requisite age bar.

The Sports Act was enacted in 2005 allegedly to install businessman Lalit Modi as the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) president. After holding the post till 2009, he again assumed the position in 2013. However, the association was eventually banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, resulting in a paucity of matches and funds that led to a state-wide decline of the sport.

When a no-confidence motion was brought against Modi, he challenged it in court. The case dragged on until he completed his term in 2017. The RCA is now headed by senior Congress leader CP Joshi.

In this backdrop, the Jain panel stated that sporting activities be conducted in accordance with the suggestions of the Lodha Committee report – complete with regular elections in sports clubs, requisite qualifications for candidates, and compulsory registration with the sport council. The Rajasthan high court then directed the state government to implement its recommendations.

The proposed changes in the Rajasthan Sports Act-2005 include imposing an age bar of 70 years on candidates contesting elections to sports associations; barring MPs, MLAs and ministers from participating in the electoral process; a fixed three-year term for office-bearers; and a nine-year limit on the tenure of any elected official.

“The contestants will also need to possess requisite qualifications to ensure that sportspersons enjoy adequate representation among office-bearers, and these clubs are not captured by outsiders who mean to use them for political purposes,” said Mohanty. “The file on the amendments is currently with the chief minister’s office. The changes will be made after due clearance.”

Sportspersons who have represented the state more than five times will also be accorded voting rights to elect office-bearers, he added.

There are around 40 district-level sports associations in the state. While many of these exist only on paper, around a dozen functional ones are bogged down by infighting.

“The changes will be beneficial as many office-bearers are not knowledgeable about sports, but only work for their own benefit,” said Bharat Greval, secretary of the Rajasthan Wrestling Association.

First Published: Mar 28, 2018 21:26 IST