Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
As reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 11 Nov 2011:
NSFs should come under RTI: Ajay Maken - The Times of India
NSFs should come under RTI: Ajay Maken
NEW DELHI: As sports minister Ajay Maken sets out to getting the revised National Sports Development Bill tabled in the winter session of parliament, the biggest opposition is once again going to come from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
BCCI, who have refused to come under the purview of Right To Information (RTI) Act, has been vocal about its objection to the B. Board officials feel that the Bill will try to 'destroy the autonomy' of the board and 'dilute the rights of its members'. However, Maken believes that transparency in the working of national sports federations (NSF) can only be achieved by bringing them under the RTI Act.
"All NSFs, including the BCCI, should come under RTI Act; that is what we have provided in the revised Bill. Application of RTI will bring transparency in running of sports in the country," Maken told the media on the sidelines of a function on Thursday.
BCCI, believed to be the most professional sports body in the country, has taken a belligerent stand. However, the sports ministry is not prepared to back down. "It's public money it (BCCI) is getting and private companies should not benefit out of that. It's the money of fans and sports lovers and should be used transparently," he said, referring to several allegations of tax violations in the Indian Premier League.
The minister's bid received support from various sports icons on the day as well. Former India captain and all-rounder Kapil Dev said that if BCCI has nothing to hide it shouldn't be afraid to come under the RTI Act.
"Nobody is above the government or the law of the land. It is another matter that the bill may hurt some people personally. It is just a question of accountability. If you are not doing anything wrong you should not be scared," Dev told TOI.
2004 Olympics silver medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore asked the cricket board to come forth with specific objections to the provisions in the bill. "They should point out the specific issues and clauses with which they have problems. Nobody has pointed that out as yet," Rathore, who was among several leading sportspersons who had gathered in the Capital in support of the Bill, said.
The sportpersons felt that those ministers who have vested interests should stay away from the discussion of the revised bill.
Just and reasonable grounds for bringing BCCI under RTI: Govt
Just and reasonable grounds for bringing BCCI under RTI: Govt New Delhi, Dec 20 (PTI) Deccan Herald
The Government has said that there are ''just and reasonable grounds'' for bringing Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
In a seven-page written statement submitted before the Central Information Commission, the Sports Ministry has said although there is no direct funding of the BCCI, it gets "substantial indirect funding" from the Government in the form of revenue forego like "concessions in income tax, customs duty etc." and lands at concessional rates for stadiums.
The Ministry also said BCCI is performing the functions "akin" to State and 'public duties' by selecting national teams and representing India in international events.
Citing the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, the Ministry warned "since the name Board for Control of Cricket in India suggest patronage of the Government, the BCCI may have to drop the name 'India' from its name in case they continue to act as 'private body'."
"In the view of the above, the present position of the Government of India in this regard is that there exists just and reasonable grounds for the BCCI to be declared as a 'public authority' under the Right to Information Act, 2005," the Ministry said.
Information Commissioner M L Sharma, while hearing plea of activist Subhash Agrawal and Alok Varshney, to bring BCCI under the ambit of the RTI Act, had directed the Sports Ministry to "submit a written statement indicating its position as to whether BCCI is a public authority in terms of section 2(h) of the RTI Act."According to section 2(h) of the RTI Act even a non-Government organisation comes under the ambit of the transparency law if it is substantially financed, "directly or indirectly" by funds provided by the appropriate Government.
The Ministry said Central Government is not providing direct funding to BCCI. However, it has no information with regard to its state units with regards to funding from state governments.
On the question of indirect funding, the Ministry said, "The BCCI has been seeking Customs Duty/Income Tax and other exemptions from the Government and also land is allotted to its various affiliates at concessional rates by the State Government."
"As such BCCI is getting indirect funding from the Government/state governments. While for organisation of an event, all civic and security services are provided/arranged by the Central or concerned State governments. Even in case some amount is charged from the organisers, the hidden costs of expenditure on security, visa clearances etc, cannot be denied being incurred by the Government," it said.
In its statement, the Ministry said the Government has proposed to bring all the National Sports Federations under the RTI Act through Sports Development Bill.
"Insofar as BCCI, in particular, is concerned Government of India has been treating BCCI is a National Sports Federation and approving proposal of BCCI for holding the events in India and participation in international events abroad," it said.
It said Delhi High Court has observed that "substantial funding" cannot be strait-jacketed into rigid formulae of universal application and since BCCI has been getting indirect funding this could be treated as being substantially financed by the appropriate government.
Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
As reported by PTI in timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 21 Dec 2011:
BCCI has written to CIC about its stand on RTI: Thakur - The Times of India
BCCI has written to CIC about its stand on RTI: Thakur
NEW DELHI: The BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur on Wednesday stated that the board has written to the Central Information Commission (CIC) regarding its stand on not coming under the purview of the RTI.
"The BCCI has written to the CIC. BCCI is a public body and we have always maintained that we would not want to come under the RTI. The Indian Cricket Board has said very categorically earlier also and even written to the sports ministry where it has clarified why it is against the sports bill," Thakur said at the sidelines of a function to promote Indian wrestling.
"And whatever the sports ministry have now said to the CIC, we will give written reply to that also," he added.
Insisting that BCCI should not be brought under the RTI, Thakur said," We are a sports promoting body and we have done reasonably well in the last so many years by winning two World Cups and a Twenty20 World Cup. I think we are not like any other sports body who is dependent on government grants."
Thakur, who is also the president of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, said that the Board has nothing to hide as far as its financial details are concerned and everything is available on its website.
"Our financial details are available on the internet...on the BCCI website. We have said earlier also and I am saying this today also that anyone can visit the BCCI website and there is full accounts details. There is nothing to hide.
"We have a very transparent system and we work in a very professional manner. But RTI is not only about accounts, there are lot of other things. Why we have stated that (we do not want to come under RTI) and replied in a very detailed manner," he revealed.
Thakur said that the fact that government want the BCCI to pay tax in the name of it helping other sports by them giving grants, "is not fair".
The HPCA president said that the country is waiting for the Lokpal at the moment rather than the sports bill.
"Let us right now concentrate on the Lokpal bill rather than the sports bill as the whole country is waiting for a strong Lokpal," he said.
The proposed sports bill, which was prepared after receiving comments and suggestions from various stakeholders and the public, seeks to have BCCI as National Sports Federation (NSF) and wants it to function as a "public authority" and "comply with the requirements specified in the Right to Information Act".
If the BCCI becomes an NSF, it would be bound to provide information under the RTI and would also be forced to follow the anti-doping rules as specified by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
These proposals of the Bill have been vehemently opposed by the BCCI and some other sports bodies, including the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which want to continue functioning in an autonomous manner, free from public scrutiny and accountability.
Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
As reported by Nagendar Sharma & Chetan Chauhan in hindustantimes.com on 29 Dec 2011:
BCCI finances to be under RTI if sports bill becomes reality - Hindustan Times
BCCI finances to be under RTI if sports bill becomes reality
Cricket fans will have the right to access financial and administrative details of the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI), which earns revenues of around Rs 1,500 crore a year, if the draft of the new sports bill, cleared by the law ministry as legal and constitutionally valid, becomes law.
In its opinion endorsing the revised draft of the National Sports Development Bill, the legal arm of the government has said: "There is no legal/constitutional bar to bringing all national sports bodies, including the BCCI, under the RTI Act." The bill will be placed before the cabinet soon.
Currently, the finances of BCCI, the world's richest and most powerful cricket board, are shrouded in secrecy and critics have often alleged mismanagement and worse.
A previous avatar of the sports bill had earlier run into trouble at the cabinet meeting on August 30, when five senior ministers, including agriculture minister and president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), Sharad Pawar, had opposed it.
Following this, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked the sports ministry to re-draft the bill and hold consultations with various ministries.
According to lawyer Rahul Mehra, who specialises in sports laws, the law ministry clearance is significant step forward.
"Though the draft bill has to cross many hurdles, it is clear that cricket fans can seek details about the financial dealings of BCCI and the multi-billion dollar IPL," he said.
Pawar and his cabinet colleagues Vilasrao Deshmukh, Farooq Abdullah and CP Joshi, who head the Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan cricket boards, respectively, and Praful Patel, who is president of All India Football Federation are expected to oppose the bill when it comes before the cabinet again.
Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
And Kapil Sibbal's son, Amit Sibbal is representing BCCI in front of CIC. How can we expect the CICs, political animals all, to go against collective wisdom of all these? They will find a way to remain outside RTI. If it comes to that, they will declare BCCI to be a security agency in line with CBI
Originally Posted by karira
Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
As reported by PTI in dnaindia.com on 15 Jan 2012:
Commercial linkage exists between BCCI, state units: Govt - Sport - DNA
Commercial linkage exists between BCCI, state units: Govt
The government has said there exists a commercial linkage between BCCI and its state affiliates, contrary to claims made by the cricket body before the Central Information Commission that it had no relationship with state associations.
In a statement dated January 9, 2012, before the transparency panel, the Sports Ministry said Board of Control for Cricket in India allots various events to state units and as per present practice, the revenue from host broadcasting rights and title sponsorships are taken by the national-level federation.
"As such there is commercial linkage of BCCI (being a national-level organisation and allocating events to state units) and its state affiliates," the ministry said.
It said the arguments put forth by BCCI during the hearing before CIC "does not hold good" that it has no relationship with its state affiliates and in case the state affiliates get some concessions or direct or indirect subsidy from a government, that does not come to BCCI.
The CIC is considering whether the BCCI is answerable under the Right to Information Act, while the appellants Subhash Agrawal and Ashok Varshney contend that it receives indirect funding from government.
BCCI says it gets no funding from the government and hence does not come under the transparency law.
"BCCI gets an event from ICC, then it keeps certain rights with itself which has the commercial value and then allots the event to a state unit. The state unit gets concessions/direct/indirect/subsidy from state government and holds events on commercial basis.
"As such by holding the event by a state unit, BCCI also gets revenue. Accordingly, concessions/direct/indirect/subsidy received by a state unit is also subsidy to BCCI," the statement said.
Earlier, in a seven-page written statement dated December 16, 2011 submitted before the CIC, the Sports Ministry had said although there is no direct funding of the BCCI, it gets substantial indirect funding from the government in the form of revenue forego like concessions in income tax, customs duty etc and lands at concessional rates for stadiums.
The ministry said BCCI is performing the functions akin to state and public duties by selecting national teams and representing India in international events.
Citing the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, it had said, "Since the name Board of Control for Cricket in India suggest patronage of the government, the BCCI may have to drop the name 'India' from its name in case they continue to act as 'private body'."
"In the view of the above, the present position of the Government of India in this regard is that there exists just and reasonable grounds for the BCCI to be declared as a 'public authority' under the Right to Information Act, 2005," it said.
Information Commissioner ML Sharma had directed the Sports Ministry to "submit a written statement indicating its position as to whether BCCI is a public authority in terms of section 2(h) of the RTI Act."
RTI exemption: BCCI may be on a weak wicket
Reported by Himanshi Dhawan in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Mar 12, 2012
RTI exemption: BCCI may be on a weak wicket - The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Did the Supreme Court confirm that sports bodies selecting national teams were public authorities? At least the people opposing the move appear to think so. Minutes of an Indian Olympic Association (IOA) meeting in May 2011 -- accessed through RTI -- suggest that the members were informed of the SC order and were studying the contents.
The interpretation could have a bearing on the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) case before the Central Information Commission (CIC) where the former has argued against its inclusion under the Right to Information Act.
BCCI has said that it is not a public authority since it does not get funds from the government. However, the sports ministry had responded to this contention saying that BCCI was receiving benefits like exemptions in customs duty and was seen as a national sports body.
The minutes of the May 2011 meeting headed by acting president V K Malhotra said, "SC in a case filed by the Kerala cricket association has declared all the national sports bodies as public authorities hence all office-bearers will now be deemed as public servants. In the judgment, the court has pronounced that any organization which selects team for the country will be considered as public authority."
The members said the contents of the judgment were being studied to see if it suited the IOA's stand. The IOA's response was to an RTI query filed by activist S C Agrawal seeking to know details of the association's meetings held in the absence of former IOA president Suresh Kalmadi.
The members appeared concerned over the draft sports bill that among other provisions also recommends that sports bodies should be brought under the RTI Act.
IOA secretary general Randhir Singh said, "Though the government through the recent statements indicated that it will not be rigid now and is willing to accommodate the concern of sports bodies, but we have to make them understand that our day to day functioning gets hampered with such things as grant of recognition annually to the national federations and IOA, we cannot keep on reporting to the government minute to minute basis regarding our programme and activities. Moreover, with additional responsibilities of RTI, the work of most of the sports bodies has already increased manifold as they have to comply with the RTI requirement and replies."
Re: BCCI not covered by RTI law
The question was considered by the Kerala High Court (not Supreme Court)Pand the question considered was whether the office bearers of the Kerala Crocket Association are public servants within the meaning of "prevention of Corruption Act"
Please read: K.Balaji Iyengar vs State Of Kerala on 26 October, 2010