The Law Commission has suggested to the government that it turn the Board of Control of Cricket in India into a government-controlled body. The Commission has asked the government to classify BCCI as a national sports federation and bring it under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI). Headed by Justice BS Chauhan, the Commission has recommended that BCCI should be classified as “state” under Article 12 of the Constitution so that it is answerable to authorities like the Supreme Court.
“It is recommended that RTI Act be made applicable to BCCI along with all of its constituent member cricketing associations, provided they fulfill the criteria applicable to BCCI,” the Law Commission suggested to the government.
In its recommendation, the Law Commission noted that BCCI falls under the definition of a public authority. The Commission further said that non-consideration of the role played by the BCCI as monopolistic in the regulation of the game of cricket has resulted in the board “flying under the radar of public scrutiny, encouraged an environment of opacity and non-accountability”, PTI reported.
In July 2016, the Supreme Court had asked the commission to recommend whether the body can be brought under the ambit of RTI or not. “An analysis of the functioning of BCCI also shows that the government does exercise control over its activities and functioning,” the Commission noted. “… BCCI, falling in line with the foreign policy of India, did not recognise a player from South Africa due to their practice of apartheid; and that the cricket matches between India and Pakistan in view of tense international relations were made subject to government approval. The foregoing positions BCCI as a ‘limb of the state’,” the law panel report said further.
The law panel report further pointed out that the cricket regulatory body has received “substantial financing” from governments in the form of tax exemptions and land grants.
The panel said that BCCI has enjoyed tax exemptions of “thousands of crores”. The Commission report said that between 1997-2007, the total tax exemption to BCCI amounted to Rs twenty one billion six hundred eighty-three million two hundred thirty-seven thousand four hundred eighty-nine. “It may also be noted here that from 2007-2008 onwards, the registration of BCCI under section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, as a charitable trust, was withdrawn,” it noted.
The body further noted that exercises ‘state-like’ powers affecting the fundamental rights of the stakeholders, guaranteed under the Constitution.
“It is hereby recommended that the BCCI be viewed as an agency or instrumentality of the state, under Article 12 of the Constitution, thereby making it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32,” the report said.