Indian cricket, barely recovering from Sunday’s (June 18) shameful and shocking defeat to arch rivals Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017, was in for more setbacks when the Central Information Commission (CIC) asked the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to clarify why the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still not under RTI.

The CIC also asked for answers from the ministries of law and sports, citing that this promise was made on the floor of Parliament. Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu was citing a 2012 reply by the then sports minister in Lok Sabha, where the government had declared the BCCI as a national sports federation.

In an earlier report India Legal had quoted the commissioner’s order, saying: “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.” In his order, he had reiterated one of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

This time Acharyulu’s order said that the “Government of India has been treating BCCI as a national sports federation and approving the proposal of BCCI for holding events in India and participation in international events abroad.” Which, in effect, means that for a national body, it will then become mandatory for the organisation to come under the RTI Act.

The CIC has given the PMO and other ministries one month to bring the BCCI under RTI.

The order is a result of an RTI plea filed by Subhash Chandra Agrawal, who asked the PMO whether the PM knew how disparate are payments received by the cricketers and other sportspersons, even Olympic medal winners. There has also been the question of the BCCI logo which is from the times of the Raj, with colonial overtones.

—India Legal Bureau