Law panel seeks views on BCCI transparency, betting

The Law Commission on Monday began examining whether the Board of Cricket Control in India could be brought under the Right to Information Act.

It is also gathering opinion on whether betting in sports could be legalised in India.
Hearing a petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar against the BCCI, the Supreme Court had asked the commission to examine these questions.

A law firm engaged by the commission has approached prominent citizens and stakeholders for their views.

The court last week removed BCCI president Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke for not complying with its July 2016 orders.

The apex court had then rapped the BCCI for not being transparent, and for running the organisation like a fiefdom.

Following the courts directive, the commission is comparing Indian and international laws relating to transparency and betting.

One of the questions its questionnaire asks is whether the government has indirect control over BCCI, since it has consistently subsidised stadium leases and exempted the cricket body from paying tax.

Other queries are whether the BCCI is a "public authority" that can be brought under the RTI, and whether the definition of 'public authority' under Section 2(h) needs to be amended to bring the cash-rich organisation under the purview of the RTI Act.

The commission also wants to know whether government regulations favour the monopoly status enjoyed by the BCCI.

What does it do?

The role of the Law Commission of India is to bring about legal reform. Its members are legal experts. It has a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the law ministry. It is usually headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

Team private or national?

The questionnaire going out to prominent citizens and stakeholders notes that the cricket team selected by the BCCI is called the 'Indian cricket team.'

The team represents India in international cricket, sings the national anthem before a match begins, and sports the tricolour and the Ashoka Chakra on its uniform, the questionnaire says.

"Does the said nature elevate the status of BCCI to a public body i.e. isn't BCCI, a private body, inter alia performing public function(s)?" it asks.