The right to know

Pradeep Magazine nails it in his piece in the Hindustan Times:

Sports Minister MS Gill needs to be complimented for bringing all the federations into the ambit of the Right To Information (RTI) Act, which in turn means the public will now have the right to know how and where the money given to them by the government (tax-payer) goes.

Is the money being spent for the purpose it is meant for or does most of it get siphoned off, as is alleged by many?

However, the sports body which generates enormous revenues and profits that could be the envy of any rich corporate body, unfortunately, does not fall under the gambit of this Act.

The reason for the exepmtion presumably being it is a private body which does not take a single pie from the government and hence cannot come under government or public scrutiny.

This is a false presumption, if one goes by the 2004 High Court ruling in the PIL filed against the Board by Rahul Mehra, a lawyer by profession, but an inveterate sports fan by nature. By admitting the PIL, the Court had in its judgment clearly said that the BCCI may be a private body, but it performs a public function and therefore comes under Article 226 of the Constitution (public scrutiny).

The BCCI, which for reasons beyond comprehension, is loathe to subject itself to public scrutiny (unless it has something to hide) shields itself behind the argument that it is a private body and cannot be questioned by the state.

BCCI conveniently forgets that not only does it get tax benefits, it also gets other largesse from the state, like stadias at throwaway rates and, most importantly, is allowed to use the name India for the team which represents it. It gets these concessions because it is deemed a charitable organisation which performs a public function.

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