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Make Efforts To Look Into Issues Raised By Guha & To Make BCCI More Transparent: CIC [Read Order]

The Central Information Commission on Friday urged the Court-appointed Committee of Administrators running the BCCI to “immediately initiate efforts” to look into the issues raised by historian Ramachandra Guha in his resignation letter. Mr. Guha had, in his resignation letter, made sensational claims questioning the stardom and conflict of interest by some members.

The Commission was hearing an Appeal filed by Mr. Om Prakash Kashiram who had sought to know the Constitutional provisions under which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selects Indian teams/ players for tournaments/crickets matches with other countries. The PIO had denied the information submitting that such information was not available with them since the BCCI was neither recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MoYAS) nor declared as a public authority.

The Commission began by holding that the BCCI is a National Sports Federation, noting that it was granted de-facto Government recognition, state support and tax concessions. It then went on to hold that the BCCI is a public functionary, relying on several Supreme Court and High Courts judgments which have held that nationals sports bodies are amenable to writ jurisdiction as they perform ‘state-like functions’. It, however, stopped short of declaring it a public authority under the RTI Act.

The Commission thereafter emphasised on the need for making BCCI functionally transparent by expediting the implementation of the measures suggested by the Justice Lodha Committee and the Supreme Court.

“The monopoly and sanction for the selection of Indian team is the real delegation of state power being life for BCCI, withdrawal of which would remove it from the scene. This second appeal highlights need for public scrutiny through RTI to prevent unjust enrichment through scams and conflicts of interest.  The propositions laid down by the apex court need to be processed into legal declaration by the Executive. As per the observations from Supreme Court explained in two elaborate judgments in 2015 and 2016 the Executive has to perform its constitutional obligation. Where is such substantial initiative from the Government?” the CIC opined.  

Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu then went on to make the following observations:

(i) In the interest of good governance and healthy cricket, to avoid scams like match fixing, conflict of interests, misappropriation of public money etc besides upholding the sporting spirit, the BCCI should get ready to be fully transparent in all its functions, or conduct itself like a responsible National Sports Federation, and voluntarily publish its information to public as if it is the public authority under RTI Act till the Union of India formally declared it as the Public Authority through appropriate means.

(ii) Like any other responsive public authority the Lodha Committee has been transparent all through regarding its working and placing the details of recommendations on website, wordpress. The cricket fans are expecting the Vinod Rai Committee of Administrators to make BCCI functioning fully transparent. 

(iii) The BCCI under the administration of the Committee of Administrators has to do maximum disclosure on its own, reducing the need to file any RTI. It has to respect apex court’s order by establishing on its own, an RTI wing.

(iv) The Committee of Administration and the CEO need to immediately initiate efforts to find the facts on the issues raised by Mr. Ramachandra Guha, take necessary steps to prevent wrongs, if found to have been committed.

(v) It should also come up with Citizen’s Charter on their official website. As Lodha Committee and the apex court pointed out that BCCI did not even publish its own constitution, bylaws, rules and regulations which amounts to refusal to disclose basic material, it is the duty of CoA to publish all such material on its website in both Hindi and English. 

(vi) The Law Commission has to inform what is their contemplated plan and the timeline, taking into account the urgency in view of the happenings in BCCI and cricket world.

(vii) The MoYAS has to inform Supreme Court, this Commission and the appellant, its efforts to coordinate with Law Commission, CoA, Lodha Committee, or Attorney General of India to expedite the process of bringing a bill or adopting appropriate legal measures to declare BCCI as public Authority under RTI Act.”

Read the Order here.

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