CIC Asks Union Government: Are you making Sports Fraud Prevention Law?

Central Information Commissioner Professor Sridhar Acharyulu has asked the Union Government as to why it did not implement its decision to treat BCCI as a public authority and bring it under the purview of RTI?
CIA Asks Union Government: Are you making Sports Fraud Prevention Law

Our New Delhi Bureau

The Central Information Commission asked why did not the Government of India, PMO or the MoYAS take any measures to implement its declaration that the BCCI as public authority under RTI Act, as per its answer to Lok Sabha. In a second appeal filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the Commissioner Professor M Sridhar Acharyulu on 16th June 2017 observed, “why are not they bringing a uniform policy for rewarding winning international sports persons to prevent unhealthy competition for publicity among Governments?”  Mr Acharyulu said that the Government has to answer other two questions like Why the sports frauds like match fixing and betting are not prohibited and action was not being taken effectively? What is the status of action on the Bill to prevent sports frauds?

The PMO, Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to explain their stand as part of their obligation under Section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act,  more importantly it has to answer the Supreme Court, Lodha Committee and the appellant why RTI is not being implemented by BCCI, if it is recognized as National Sports Federation, within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order, observed Mr Acharyulu.

The Commission also recommends that the Government of India to consider shifting the subject of sports from States List in the Constitution of India to the Concurrent List to facilitate a uniform policy and law on the sports bodies, National Sports Federations including BCCI to be accountable, answerable as public authorities under RTI Act.

The Commission has referred to answer of Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs to Lok Sabha, saying, “The need for bringing National Sports Federations (NSFs) including BCCI under ambit of Right to Information act, (RTI) 2005 has been voiced from time to time. Accordingly, Government in April, 2010 declared all the NSFs receiving grant of Rs. 10.00 lakhs or more as Public Authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI, 2005. There are major court rulings for treating the National Sports Federation as a public authorities, especially in view of the state-like function discharged by them such as selection of the national team and control and regulation of sports in the country, which also make them amenable to the writ jurisdiction of High Courts under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Notwithstanding the above, the Government has proposed to bring all the National Sports Federations including BCCI under the RTI Act in the proposed Draft National Sports Development Bill with provision of exclusion clause protecting personal/confidential information relating to athletes.”

The Minister also said: In so far as BCCI, in particular, is concerned, Government of India has been treating BCCI as a National Sports Federation and approving the proposal of BCCI for holding the events in India and participation in International events abroad. The Central Government does not extend any direct financial assistance to BCCI.  But the Central Government has been granting concessions in Income tax, customs duty, etc. to BCCI. The State Governments also have provided land in many places to the Cricket Associations.

As per the Section 80(G) 92) (viii) (c) and sum paid by the assesses, being a company, in the previous year as donations to the Indian Olympic Association or to any other association or institutions established in India, as the Central Government may, having regard to the prescribed guidelines, by notifications in the officials gazette specify in this behalf for (i) the development of infrastructure for sports and games; (ii) the sponsorship of sports and games. For being eligible under the above Act BCCI was registered under Section 12 (a) read with Section 17 (a) as an charitable institution and was availing tax exemptions. Department of Revenue has informed that the registration granted to BCCI under section 12A of the Act was withdrawn in December 2009 with effect from 1 June, 2006.

Regarding tax exemptions given to BCCI considering it as Charitable Organization, the Minister told Loksabha the following:

S. No.Annual yearAmount of exemption
1.1997-1998Rs. 11,01,44,329/-
2.1998-1999Rs. 1,818,20,87,740/-
3.1999-2000Rs. 8,37,14,734/-
4.2000-2001Rs. 36,01,22,999/-
5.2001-2002Rs. 42,98,07,762/-
6.2002-2003Rs. 31,46,41,089/-
7.2003-2004Rs. 26,28,78,110/-
8.2004-2005Rs. 33,46,89,451/-
9.2005-2006Rs. 32,99,98,557/-
10.2006-2007Rs. 127,51,52,718/-

From 2007-2008 onwards assessees registrations under section 12A of the Act has been withdrawn and assessed income has also been indicated as under:-

S.No.Annual YearAssessed IncomeDemand
1.2007-2008Rs. 274,86,30,510/-Rs. 118,03,75,711/-
2.2008-2009Rs. 608,30,07,010/-Rs. 257,12,20,954/-

It is clear that the BCCI was enjoying tax exemptions up to Thousands Crore of Rupees as mentioned above. This answer also shows that the Government of India categorically decided to make the BCCI a public authority. Assuming that no financial assistance is rendered by the Government of India to BCCI, it has been treating BCCI as a National Sports Federation and approving the proposal of BCCI for holding the events in India and participation in International events abroad. This is the clear grant of monopoly to BCCI over the Cricket in India. This is the key grant that facilitates the BCCI to make very huge income.

The Commissioner felt that the Union should also answer: “Why the Indian Cricket team even now carrying the logo of BCCI instead of sporting the Union of India symbol? Why the BCCI is still using the logo designed by British Raj in 1928 which resembles 90 per cent the symbol of star of India given by British Raj to his loyal princes, as mentioned in the order of CIC in CIC/MOYAS/A/2017/116693 on 9.6.2017? Why the Government of India does not change it to truly Indian Symbol with either tricolor or four lions or Ashoka’s Dharm Chakra or any other logo decided by the Government of India?”  (Based on the order of M Sridhar Acharyulu, Central Information Commissioner in Subhash Chandra Agrawal v Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, on 16.6.2017)

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