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In a new ruling, Ministry of Youth And Sports (MoYAS) asked to take necessary action

~Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr

Central Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu dealt with the tricky issue of how the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is registered under the Tamil Nadu Society Act, was selecting an Indian team in disposing of an appeal on Friday (June 9). The final appeal was made by Om Prakash Kashiram, a resident of Thane, near Mumbai, against the PIO of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYA &S).

Acharyulu in his order said, “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.” He has reiterated one of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

Kashiram in his initial RTI application wanted to know under which provisions of the Constitution of India, the BCCI was able to select the cricket team of India. The PIO responded saying that he did not have the information, and that he could not refer the matter to the BCCI because the ministry does not recognise it. He had also asked the RTI petitioner to approach the BCCI directly.

In his ruling, Acharyulu inferred that since the Supreme Court had appointed the Committee of Administrators comprising four eminent personalities under former Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) Vinod Rai on January 30, 2017, it meant that “the Union of India has taken over the administration of BCCI through the Supreme Court’s appointed committee, hence the BCCI, its CoA already became public authority and answerable.”

Acharyulu says that Supreme Court’s order regarding the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations is law under Article 141 of the Constitution. He quotes from the Supreme Court order: “…since BCCI discharges public functions and since those functions are in the nature of a monopoly in the hands of the BCCI with tacit State Government and Central Government approvals, the public at large has a right to know (CIC’s emphasis) and demand information as to the activities and functions of the BCCI especially when it deals with funds collected in relation to those activities as a trustee of wherein the beneficiary happens to be the people of this country. As a possible first step in the direction in bringing BCCI under purview of Right To Information Act, we expect the Law Commission of India to examine the issue and make a suitable recommendation to the Government…” (emphasis of the CIC).

Based on the Supreme Court’s view, the Acharyulu has ruled, “…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 the RTI Act till the Union of India formally declared it as the Public Authority through appropriate means.”

He has in his ruling dealt at length with the letter that Ramachandra Guha, one of the members of CoA, had sent to Vinod Rai, wherein he had raised issues of conflict of interest.

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