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BCCI must be under RTI purview like other sports bodies: Law Commission

New Delhi, April 18: The Law Commission of India has recommended that the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) should come under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act just as other national sports bodies do, stressing that it sees no reason why “BCCI should be an exception”.
In its latest report titled “Legal Framework: BCCI vis-à-vis RTI Act” released on Wednesday, the Law Commission has noted that the BCCI, though regarded as a private body, “virtually acts as a National Sports Federation (NSF)” and that as per a statement in the Lok Sabha “the central government has already been regarding BCCI as an NSF”.
“Since all other sports bodies which are listed as NSFs are covered under the RTI Act, it is inconceivable as to why BCCI should be an exception,” the Commission observed in its report.
“It is recommended that, the same be explicitly mentioned in the list of NSFs available on the website of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. This express mention would automatically bring BCCI within the purview of RTI Act,” it said.
The Law Commission underlined that “even if BCCI is continued to be regarded as a private body”, but owing to its “monopolistic character coupled with the public nature of its functions and the substantial financing it has received from governments over the years (in the form of tax exemptions, land grants et al), it can within the existing legal framework, still be termed as a ‘public authority’ and be brought within the purview of RTI Act”.
It also pointed out that the uniform of the players of the Indian cricket team (as selected by the BCCI) contains the national colours and their helmets display the Ashok Chakra.
Besides, it said, the Supreme Court has recently reaffirmed that BCCI is the “approved” national level body holding virtually monopoly rights to organise cricketing events in the country.
The report has recommended that the BCCI “be viewed as an agency or instrumentality of state, under Article 12 of the Constitution, thereby making it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 12”.
“Additionally, it is recommended that RTI Act be made applicable to BCCI along with all of its constituent member cricketing associations, provided they fulfil the criteria applicable to BCCI, as discussed in this report,” it added. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita