The Board of Control for Cricket in India could be again set on collision course with the Sports Ministry as a contentious clause in the Draft National Sports Development Bill states that only those federations who come under the Right to Information Act (RTI) ambit will have the right to use 'India' as the team's name.
The committee headed by Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal on Wednesday submitted the Draft National Sports Developmemt Bill to the ministry which was later put up on its website.
Clause (h) of the proposed Bill will certainly cause a few problems for the BCCI as it pertains to use of country name in sporting activities.
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It states: "In order to represent India in international events and to have a right for a particular sport federation to use 'India' or 'Indian' in the sport scenario, the federation shall have to comply with Chapter IV (Unethical practices in Sports) and Chapter IX (Applicability of Right to Information Act)."
The BCCI is not a registered National Sports Federation (NSF) as it does not take government grant and thus cannot be brought under RTI but if the Draft Sports Bill is finally passed by the Parliament, then Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co. can't officially represent 'India' at international tournaments.
BCCI's interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya declined to comment on the issue before having a detailed look at the document.
"It will be unfair to make any comments on this issue until I get a copy of the draft sports bill. Once I have a detailed look, I will discuss the issue with the other senior members of the board and take a final call," Dalmiya said.
BCCI's General Manager (Game Development) Ratnakar Shetty also refused to make any comments.
The BCCI has strongly resisted any kind of government interference in its day-to-day functioning and the members are unanimous in their view that coming under RTI will affect its functioning.
"We have taken an unified stand till now on resisting any kind of government interference. We don't take any help from the government so how does the question of coming under RTI arise?" a senior office-bearer questioned.
As per the provisions of the Bill, only two clauses will be applicable on the BCCI -- one pertaining to RTI (chapter 9) while the other is on Ethics (chapter 4) which envisages among other things drug abuse and code of conduct.
Sports Secretary P K Deb said if the Bill is passed, the BCCI will automatically come under its purview.
"If the draft is passed, then the BCCI should also come under the bill," Deb said.
Asked if the BCCI refused to come under the RTI, will its team not be allowed to use 'India', Deb said, "I suppose so. But it is too premature to say anything at this stage. The Draft is now only being put up on the website and we are awaiting responses from all quarters."
The Sports Bill, a brainchild of former Sports Minister Ajay Maken, was initially not cleared by the Union Cabinet. The Sports Ministry was told to revise the Bill and then seek the cabinet's clearance.
Jitendra Singh, who took over from Maken, then formed a committee headed by Justice Mudgal to revise the Bill which will become a law only when it is passed in Parliament.
Photograph: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com