One of the most contentious provisions is for the BCCI to be subject to the Sports Bill and for it to come under RTI. The BCCI has resisted the move time and again.
There is bound to be resistance but it is our recommendation to the government and for the government to decide. Besides, the RTI Act in its entirety is not applicable, we have provided for exceptions. For example, one cannot ask about the selection/appointment of athletes or coaches. One cannot ask about injuries or medical health of athletes or seek information like trade secrets and those in commercial confidence.
You’ve also proposed the setting up of various commissions like the Ethics Commission and the Athletes Commission. What are their primary roles?
The Ethics Commission will comprise eminent athletes, a judicial member and a person recommended by the National Olympic Committee to ensure the imposition of a Code of Ethics, which will be in line with the International Olympic Committee’s code. The Athletes Commission will ensure that athletes enjoy at least 25% voting rights in the executive body of each National Sports Federation. There’s also the Sports Election Committee to ensure or conduct free and fair elections, apart from an Appellate Sports Tribunal.
There’s also a clause about persons with criminal charges framed under Section 228 of the Criminal Procedure Code not being eligible to contest elections of either the NOC or NSFs. Does that allude to chargesheeted officials?
We have gone a step further than the process for election in general and Assembly elections. We believe that sports authorities and officials should set a higher standard. Once charges have been framed, it means the court has applied its mind and found prima facie case to proceed against the individual. It doesn’t mean conviction but till the person is acquitted, he should stay out.
Haven’t the administrators so far been quoting exactly that election procedure saying if we can contest regular elections, then we can contest those for sports bodies too?
This is our view and our rationale is sports has to set very high standards. There is a stage before one is proven innocent, which is when the charges are framed, the court goes through the evidence and if it finds good enough reason to proceed on the basis of the evidence, it’s midway of the process. This isn’t applicable to the mere filing of an FIR. Anyone who wants to put a rival in trouble can file an FIR.