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NO: 10 - STATUS OF LAW COMMISSION REPORTS

REPORT NO: 275 - LEGAL FRAMEWORK: BCCI vis-à-vis RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT, 2005

The Twenty-First Law Commission was constituted under the Chairmanship of Justice B.S. Chauhan and submitted Report No.275 to the Law Minister on 18th April 2018.

BACKGROUND

According to the directions issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, in the case Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) versus Cricket Association of Bihar & Ors (2015) 3 SCC 251 the Law Commission was asked to examine the issue as to whether the BCCI would be covered under the ambit of Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act), and if the answer is affirmative, make appropriate recommendations to the Government of India. The Supreme Court has held that BCCI discharges public functions monopolistic in nature in tacit approval of State and Central Governments. Hence the scope of the study broadly included the following questions:

  • Whether the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) would qualify to be a “Public Authority” to fall under the purview of the RTI Act?
  • What would be the ambit of “substantially financed” and “directly and indirectly” financed/funded mentioned under Sec 2(h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act?
  • Whether tax exemptions to the tune of thousands of crores and provision of land at highly discounted rates/nominal value, by the State and Central Government, for the construction of cricket stadiums, amount to indirect “substantial financing” by the Government?

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE LAW COMMISSION

  • Non-consideration of the role played by BCCI as monopolistic in the regulation of the game of cricket has resulted in the Board flying under the radar of public scrutiny, encouraged an environment of opacity and non-accountability. In the past, this has probably given an impression in the minds of the general public that corruption and other forms of malpractices are adversely affecting one of the most popular sports played in India. BCCI exercises ‘State-like’ powers affecting the fundamental rights of the stakeholders, guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution. It is hereby recommended that 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 32.
  • Human rights are sacrosanct and innately associated with human personality. These rights are continually evolving, are to be respected by, and can be enforced against not only the ‘State’ but also private bodies/entities. Therefore, the BCCI should be held accountable, under all circumstances, for any violations of the basic human rights of the stakeholders.
  • BCCI virtually acts as a National Sports Federation (NSF). Its own Memorandum of Association states that the Board’s objects and purposes are to control, improve quality, lay down policies about the game of cricket in India and select teams to represent India at international fora. As per the statement made in the Lok Sabha, the Central Government has already been regarding BCCI as a National Sports Federation and hence, it is recommended that, for the removal of any doubt, the same be explicitly mentioned in the list of NSFs available on the ministry’s website. This express mention would automatically bring BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act. Other sports bodies listed as NSFs’ in Annual Report 2016-17,177 of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports available on its website do attract the provisions of the RTI Act. This website also contains information regarding (Chief Public Information Officer) CPIOs and Appellate Authorities catering to RTI requests addressed to specific NSFs. In light of the above-stated facts, 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.
  • Additionally, it is recommended that the RTI Act be made applicable to BCCI along with all of its constituent member cricketing associations, provided they fulfil the criteria applicable to BCCI.

PRESENT STATUS OF THE LAW COMMISSION REPORT

Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Department of Sports has advised viding their communication dated 03rd December 2020 that: “The matter regarding bringing BCCI under the RTI Act, 2005 is sub judice at the Madras High Court.”

CONCLUSION

Hence the present status related to Report No.275 related to the Legal Framework of BCCI under the Right to Information Act, 2015 is treated as “Pending”.


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