Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Haryana Information Commission brings eight sports associations under RTI Act ambit

Times of India: Chandigarh: Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
In a significant decision of bringing transparency in sports bodies, 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 are Haryana State Athletics Association at Panipat, Haryana Weightlifting Association at Hisar, Haryana Table Tennis Association at New Delhi, Haryana Boxing Association at Gurugram, Haryana Volleyball Association at Gurugram, Haryana Archery Association at Sirsa, Haryana Chess Association at Gurugram and Haryana Wrestling Association at Rohtak.
The order has come from the bench comprising state information commissioners Prahlad Rai Meena and Hemant Atri 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 expressed, "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 Association and state government are exercising pervasive and complete control over it."
The order further reads, "The bench of the commission further noted that participants are getting certificates and recognition etc 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 programs 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.