MUMBAI: The troubles of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), which is already under fire from the Supreme Court for not implementing the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, do not seem to be ending anytime soon. In the latest development, the ministry of youth affairs and sports (MYAS) has asked the law ministry to figure out a way on how the BCCI can be placed under the ambit of the lawministry. "Work is on at the highest levels in the MYAS and the law ministry. So far, the BCCI has always worked like a not-for-profit private society without any aid or assistance from the government at any level, but this can't go on forever," a source said.
He also said that so far the cricket board has managed to keep its autonomy because of its political influence and money power. "The BCCI and state associations have always been led by politicians or industrialists with strong influence, which has always shielded it from getting on the wrong side of the government. However, now that the Supreme Court has taken matters into its hands, the government also wants to get the house in order," he said.
This is not the first time that the government has tried to get the board under right to information (RTI). In December 2011, the then sports minister Ajay Maken had recommended bringing BCCI under RTI, arguing that there were reasonable grounds for the same. BCCI had been opposing any such a move saying it is a private body and RTI applies only to government organisations or those supported financially by it.
Even after the spot-fixing scandal rocked the IPL in 2013, the sports ministry made an effort to get the BCCI under National Sports Development Bill, which never saw the light of the day in Parliament after its draft stage. However, the then law ministry, headed by union minister Kapil Sibbal (currently BCCI's counsel against Lodha Committee), kept the IPL out of its purview.
Interestingly, the Lodha Committee had also recommended that BCCI be brought under the ambit of the RTI Act.
"Considering the national character of the sport of cricket and the wide fan base, the Lodha panel has recommended that BCCI is placed under the ambit of RTI," said Kaushik Moitra, partner at TMT Law Practice.
While BCCI might argue that it has never asked for grants or used any facilities of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for it to get under government scrutiny, legal experts from the ministry said that it can be done.
"There is always an angle of national importance. The Indian cricket matches gets mandatory sharing with the national broadcaster and state associations seek police security during the matches from state governments stating it's for national importance. The same can be invoked to get BCCI under our ambit," another source added.