Thursday, July 13, 2017

8 sports bodies in Haryana come under RTI ambit

Times of India: Chandigarh: Thursday, July 13, 2017.
In a significant decision that will help bring transparency in sports bodies, the Haryana State Information Commission has declared eight sports associations of the state as public authority by bringing them under the ambit of Right to Information Act, 2005.
These bodies are Haryana State Athletics Association in Panipat, Haryana Weightlifting Association in Hisar, Haryana Table Tennis Association in New Delhi, Haryana Boxing Association in Gurugram, Haryana Volleyball Association in Gurugram, Haryana Archery Association in Sirsa, Haryana Chess Association in Gurugram and Haryana Wrestling Association in Rohtak.
The bench comprising state information commissioners Prahlad Rai Meena and Hemant Atri passed the order while disposing of petitions moved by Gurugram resident Harinder Dhingra.
After hearing detailed arguments, the commission found that no indirect/direct funding was being given to these eight sports associations either by the Indian associations or by the central/state government. However, the commission observed that these associations were being controlled and regulated by national associations which are public authorities.
Passing separate orders in all eight sports associations' cases, the commission said, "Role and responsibility of the association is also akin to that of BCCI and thus the functions discharged by the association are public functions and Indian associations and state government are exercising pervasive and complete control over it."
The bench of the commission further said that, "Participants are getting certificates and recognition by the association which are also helpful for them to get government jobs. Such functions being discharged by the association no doubt call for transparency and fairness, as such the association falls under the ambit of Section 2(h) (d)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005."
Associations are using emblem and name of the state which also signifies that they are performing public functions, observed the commission. The commission also found that Haryana's sports and physical fitness policy issued on January 12, 2015, also brings out regulatory control of the government over these sports associations. The policy reads, "Government will engage sports associations and federation constructively. It will encourage them to professionalize their work, maintain a high standard of ethics and integrity and synchronize their activities with the government programmes and activities to optimize the output."
The commission has directed these sports associations to notify public information officers and first appellate authority, and file compliance report by August 30.