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Ministers free to hold sports body posts: Govt

June 22, 2010 14:58 IST

The central government on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that a code of conduct for ministers did not barred them from holding any position in sport organisations, in a case in which Agriculture Minister and former BCCI chief Sharad Pawar has been made a party.

The high court, which is hearing a PIL seeking levy of entertainment tax on IPL matches, had asked the government last time whether there is any rule in this regard.

On Tuesday, D J Khambatta, the Additional Solicitor General, told the high court that code of conduct has no provision in this respect.

The high court adjourned the hearing till August 9 as BCCI and the state government wanted time to file their replies.

Meanwhile, the state informed the court that it had decided to impose entertainment tax on IPL as well as one-day internationals henceforth.

On the last occasion, the court had allowed the petitioner to make Pawar a party in the PIL since there were some allegations against him.

The high court had on April 26 asked the Maharashtra government whether any 'conflict of interest' arose if a sitting minister is part of BCCI or of any other sport body.

Though reference was apparently to Pawar, the court had not name any individual, but asked the state to file a reply as to whether there was any "code of conduct" for ministers in this regard.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Shiv Sena MLA Subhash Desai who alleged that the government is not collecting entertainment tax from Indian Premier League, despite deciding to levy the tax in January. The court had also asked the state to make it clear if any decision has been taken on this.

At the previous hearing, the court had grilled BCCI lawyer Raju Subramaniam on whether a minister could be a functionary of the cricket body.

"Would it be moral...Would a conflict of interest arise if a minister is a head of a sport association," the judges had asked.

Subramaniam had said he could not comment on this, but BCCI constitution did not stop any minister from contesting its election.

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