CHENNAI: The Law Commission of India is evaluating possibilities along with pros and cons of legalising betting. That this should be done to curb practices of fixing and illegal gambling on cricket matches was suggested by the Lodha commission in its reform report. The Law Commission is looking into it following instructions from the Supreme Court.
As part of the process, Dr Sanjay Singh, Member Secretary of Law Commission, has sought opinions from the BCCI’s state associations. In a letter to them in possession of Express, Singh has written that the Commission is speaking to all concerned about betting and gambling in order to prepare its report to be submitted to the court.
The associations have not been given a deadline, but the letter mentions that their replies should be sent “at the earliest” since the Commission wants to complete the process of submitting the report “at an early date”. Some of the states have said they will call meetings to take a call. Some have said they are not treating the letter very seriously.
“The Law Commission considers that the view of your association will be valuable in formulating its recommendations on betting. May I add here that keeping in view the intertwining nature of betting and gambling, the Commission has decided to consider the examination of both....I would request you to forward the views of your association on the matter at the earliest,” says the letter.
The head of a state association said they would call a meeting of all the members before taking a decision. “I am of the view that legalising betting will do little to stop the problem of fixing. There are other issues related to it as well. But we have to call a governing body meeting since the association has to take a decision. The date is yet to be fixed since we have just received the letter. It might take 2-3 weeks,” he said.
Legalisation of betting has been talked about in India ever since investigations started in the IPL spot-fixing case in 2013. Before the Lodha commission, the panel headed by Justice Mudgal had also spoken about it. These reports were generally of the view that such a step would contribute to the exchequer, other than discourage activities like fixing. While pronouncing verdict in the BCCI case on July 18 last year, the court had said it would look into it.
While the Law Commission’s letter confirms that the court has taken the proposal seriously, it’s not clear how the BCCI units will react. “We don’t think legalisation of betting will do any good. If stopping match and spot-fixing is the objective, we need strict law and invigilation systems. Legalising betting may lead to other problems. And since it’s not mandatory to respond to the Law Commission letter, we are still to decide whether we should send a reply,” said the secretary of another state body. Although the chief of another unit welcomed the idea, it’s to be seen how different views are treated.
Topics of discussion at Wednesday’s CoA meeting in New Delhi:
1. Participation in 2024 Olympics
2. Updates of Tours and Fixtures, Technical Committee meetings
3. Conflict of Interest
4. List of BCCI commentators for next season
5. IPL 2018
6. Payment structure in domestic cricket
7. Deloitte audit report
8. Mohammed Azharuddin’s pending dues
9. Renewal of PR firm Adfactors’ contract