BCCI, Sports Ministry on a collision course?

Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal, chairman of the Working Group for Drafting of the National Sports Development Bill 2013, yesterday submitted the revised draft of the proposed legislation to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.

Sanjay Patel and Jagmohan Dalmiya
BCCI interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya (right) and BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel at a press conference in June. PIC/AFP

A clause in the Draft National Sports Development Bill requires NSFs to come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI) to have the right to use ‘India’ as the team’s name.

Clause (h) states: “In order to represent India in international events and to have a right for a particular sport federation to use ‘India’ or ‘Indian’ in the sport scenario, the federation shall have to comply with Chapter IV (Unethical practices in Sports) and Chapter IX (Applicability of Right to Information Act).”

The clause is likely to raise hackles among a few sports bodies, most prominently the Board of Control for Cricket in India. ┬áThe Bill, if enacted, would mean that MS Dhoni and Co can’t officially represent ‘India’ at international tournaments unless the BCCI agrees to come under the ambit of the RTI Act — something it has staunchly resisted.

In the revised draft, duties have been assigned to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) including performing functions according to the Olympic Charter, responsibility for bidding for international multi-sport events, in-house mechanism to address grievances, conduct National Games at regular intervals, constitute Athletes Commission and function as a public authority under RTI and submission of reports to Parliament.

Sports Tribunal
The draft also proposes setting up an Appellate Sports Tribunal with the selection committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India or his/her nominee judge, secretary, Department of Sports, and president, NOC.

Ethics Commission
An Ethics Commission has been proposed which shall enforce a Code of Ethics which shall be in accordance with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) code and principles enshrined in the Constitution of India.

Election commission
A sports election commission has been proposed under the Bill to conduct free and fair elections to the NOC, NSFs and the Athletes Commission.
A two-fold system for functioning of National Sport Federations has been envisaged.

Recognition and accreditation of the NSFs depends on the international federation and the NOC. The draft Bill was formulated and placed before the Cabinet on August 30, 2011 when Ajay Maken was the Sports Minister. But the Bill was rejected by the Cabinet.

The Government made the revised bill public on October 10, 2011 but the sports ministry felt that it needed to be revised and formed a working group headed by Justice Mudgal, a retired judge.

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