The Law Commission has recommended the Centre to bring the world’s richest cricket body Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) under the purview of Right to Information Act (RTI) citing its “state like powers” in regulating the game even as it suggested that the board should be held “accountable” for any violations of basic human rights.
Stating that the apex cricket body “virtually acts as a National Sports Federation”, its 124 page report, headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan, recommended the Union Law Ministry that the BCCI be classified as an agency or instrumentality of state, under Article 12 of the Constitution. In July 2016, the commission was asked by the Supreme Court to examine as to whether the BCCI could be covered under the ambit of the RTI Act. The move came in the backdrop of demands to bring transparency in the cricket body.
Emphasising that BCCI acted as a “limb of the state”, the commission said the body acknowledged foreign policy of India and “did not recognise a player from South Africa due to their practice of apartheid.” “The cricket matches between India and Pakistan in view of tense international relations were made subject to government approval.”
“It is hereby recommended that BCCI be viewed as an agency or instrumentality of State, under Article 12 of the Constitution, thereby making it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32,” the law commission said. Outlining BCCI’s role “as monopolistic in regulation of the game of cricket,” the Commission added that it has “resulted in the board flying under the radar of public scrutiny, encouraged an environment of opacity and non-accountability.”
“In the past, this has probably given an impression in the minds of the general public that corruption and other forms of malpractices are adversely affecting one of the most popular sports played in India,” it said. The commission also noted that the cricket board enjoy tax exemptions worth thousands of crores. “To be precise, between 1997- 2007, the total tax exemption amounted to Rs 21,683,237,489 (Rs Twenty-one billion six hundred eighty-three million two hundred thirty-seven thousand four hundred eighty-nine),” the commission said.