NEW DELHI: The Law Commission of India wants the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)—a private body—to be available for public scrutiny and be brought under RTI just as public institutions.
The law panel, which was mandated by the Supreme Court to examine if BCCI can be brought under RTI in July 2016, is about to finalise its report, The New Indian Express has learnt.
The draft report of the commission, which was finalised this month, states, “Even if BCCI is continued to be regarded as a private body, then owing to its monopolistic character coupled with the public nature of the functions it performs and the substantial financing it has received over the years from appropriate governments, in the form of tax exemptions, land grants et al, it can, within the existing legal framework itself, be termed as a ‘public authority’ and be brought within the purview of the RTI Act.”
The panel has also listed that between 1997-2007, the total tax exemption that BCCI got amounted to over Rs 2,100 crore. BCCI has been opposing the move, saying it is a private body and RTI applies only to government organisations or those supported financially by it.
The report states that “BCCI be viewed as an agency or instrumentality of state, under Article 12 of the Constitution.” Among the reasons cited by the panel to bring BCCI under RTI is its “monopolistic” nature, which has encouraged non-accountability and corruption. Sources said that the draft report has been circulated to all Law Commission members for final consultation and will soon be submitted to the government.
The report also cites that BCCI enjoys the status of a National Sports Federation for cricket and points out that this was declared in the Lok Sabha in 2012 by then sports minister. “BCCI tinkers with the fundamental rights of a citizen pertaining to his right of speech or right of occupation and has a final say in the matter of registration of players, umpires and others connected with a very popular sport. By virtue of being the organisers of competitive cricket... BCCI is de facto legislating on sport-related activities,” the report cites.
While making its recommendation, the commission has relied heavily on the CIC order of June 2017, which had recommended bringing BCCI under RTI Act. After the 2013 spot-fixing IPL scandal, the sports ministry had tried to get BCCI under National Sports Development Bill, which never saw the light of the day in Parliament. Earlier, the government made efforts to make BCCI a public institution but failed. In
December 2011, then sports minister Ajay Maken had recommended bringing BCCI under RTI.
The Justice Mudgal and the Lodha panels appointed by Supreme Court in the wake of the 2013 IPL fixing scandal had said people have a right to know the details about the BCCI’s functions and activities under the RTI Act.