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Why RTI Act is no guarantee for prompt response from sports bodies

It remains to be seen if BCCI, the country’s most powerful sports body, will really be bound by the RTI Act if it does come under its purview

other sports Updated: Apr 18, 2018 23:54 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Law Commission of India,Right to Information Act,RTI Act
The Law Commission has recommended that the BCCI be brought under the ambit of the RTI Act.(HT file photo)

The Law Commission of India’s recommendation to the Centre that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) be brought under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) provides an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the law when it comes to matters of sport.

Last November, a Hindustan Times correspondent sent an offline RTI request to School Games Federation of India (SGFI), a national sports federation, seeking documents for clarification in a case of alleged age fraud. The case involved a player who had submitted multiple birth dates to SGFI in different tournaments. The request didn’t elicit even an acknowledgement from the federation.

With no registration number available for an offline RTI request in the absence of an acknowledgement, this correspondent filed an online request on the same matter on December 6 through the union sports ministry, which transferred the request to SGFI a day later. Once again, the SGFI ignored the query.

READ | BCCI officials play down Law Commission’s RTI Act recommendation

A first appeal over the matter was filed on January 14, to which the sports ministry replied on March 15, saying the original request had already been transferred to SGFI, which ignored mails and calls over the matter.

A second appeal application was submitted earlier this month, and SGFI is yet to respond.

In another instance, a colleague filed an online RTI request with SGFI on February 1 seeking a clarification on the status of a body affiliated to it. Again, there was no response from SGFI.

When SGFI, which wields little influence compared to other NSFs, can ignore RTI requests, it remains to be seen if BCCI, the country’s most powerful sports body, will really be bound by the Act if it does come under its purview.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 23:54 IST