Shashank Manohar: Why single us out, do film stars come under RTI?

New BCCI president Shashank Manohar stresses on making the Indian cricket board more transparent, but rules out coming under Right to Information Act

Shashank Manohar promised several key changes to the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in his second innings as president after being unanimously elected at the Special General Meeting at the Cricket Centre yesterday.

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Newly-elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar addresses the media at Wankhede Stadium's Cricket Centre yesterday. Pic/PTI
Newly-elected BCCI president Shashank Manohar addresses the media at Wankhede Stadium's Cricket Centre yesterday. Pic/PTI

He stressed on making the world's richest cricket body more transparent and advocated several reforms to uplift the image of the BCCI that has taken a major beating after the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot fixing and betting scandal.

'BCCI, not a state'
When asked whether the BCCI would be open to come under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the 58-year-old administrator was quick to shoot down the suggestion.

"Under Article 12 of the (Indian) Constitution, we (BCCI) are not a state. Our functions are akin to a state. That's why the Supreme Court has held that we are performing a public deed.

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Therefore, each and every activity of the Board need not be disclosed to the whole world. Transparency means transparency in functioning of the Board," Manohar said.

Manohar, a top lawyer, said the BCCI should not be singled out. "We will not come under the RTI because the law cannot apply to one institution. RTI is an Act. Under the Act to whom it applies is defined by two contingencies.

As the law exists, it applies only to state governments, institutions which are controlled by centre or state governments or who are aided by the government. We do not fall in either of these categories and that is why RTI cannot be applicable to us.

'Don't single us out'
"There could be fans of film stars who would want to know everything about them. Does it mean RTI applies to film stars because the fans spend money to watch their movies? If government amends the law, we have no difficulty (in accepting it), but as on date, as per the RTI act, we (BCCI) cannot be singled out," Manohar said.

Minutes after he took over at the new BCCI chief, Manohar emphasised on rebuilding the faith and confidence of cricket fans as his top most priority. Manohar said: "BCCI has become a huge brand due to the love of the fans and the cricket-loving population of this country.

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Confidence of the fans has been shaken due to certain unpleasant things. It is the duty of all the representatives of the Board to bring the Board back to its original reputation. I assure you, just give me two months' time, all these things (reforms) about which I have spoken will be implemented in full force."

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