India’s National Sports Development Bill Draft

The most recent draft of the National Sports Development Bill will have all the sports in India under the Right to Information Act. This will include all of India’s national sports federations.

Justice Mukul Mudgal was the head of the committee that drafted the Bill. It was made clear that all the sports federations in India would need to comply, including the BCCI. A member of the committee noted: “Even cricket will come under it. If the BCCI refuses to come under the ambit of the RCI, then they cannot send the national team under the tag ‘India’.”

Although all the sports bodies will need to fall under the Right to Information Act, which allows the public to raise questions. There are, however, some exceptions to the questions that can be raised. The issues that cannot be questioned include questions about the contracts of players, the reason that a specific player or a coach is chosen, the fitness of a player, the medical health of a player, and other similar issues that could arise.

This bill has been drafted as an attempt from the government to help keep the sports federations on the straight and narrow. Up until now, there have been many politicians and those in high positions who have been involved in the sports federations. It is expected that there will be a new accountability, along with transparency for sports administrations.

Since the first attempt at keeping sports federations transparent did not work, this time around, included in the draft legislation, it notes that there will be a Sports Election Commission, and an Appellate Sports Tribunal.

Abhinav Bindra, former Olympic gold medal shooter, is part of the working group involved with the draft legislation. Bindra said: “The draft Bill talks about setting up of an Athletes Commission with the provision that the athletes be included in the decision making process of the executive body. The total strength of the athletes in the executive body shall not be less than 25 percent of the voting rights.”