New law to deal with anomaly

Last Updated 25 May 2013, 22:26 IST

The Centre on Saturday announced that a stand-alone law will be brought in to deal with unfair practices in sports, including spot-fixing and match-fixing. The announcement comes in the wake of the recent spot-fixing controversy in IPL6.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal said Attorney General G E Vahanvati has favoured enactment of a new statute since existing legislations were not sufficient to deal with spot-fixing and match-fixing.

“We have decided to enact a stand-alone legislation to deal with unfair practices in sports. There is no offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as of now for unfair practices in sports, so you cannot punish anyone,” he said.

The new law would cover all sports and deal with national and international players, bookies, team managements and owners indulging in dishonest practices. It would, however, have no retrospective effect.

The draft of the new law will be ready in three to four days. It will then be forwarded to the Sports Ministry for consideration, Sibal said.

Reflecting on the brouhaha over allegations of spot-fixing in IPL, Sibal said: “We cannot let down millions of fans out there for whom cricket is a passion. The new law will not apply to cricket alone, but all sports in which such unfair practices are used for changing the outcome of the game.”

The law minister said in an era of latest technologies, “any act or gesture which results in dishonest practices,” will come under the ambit of the new law.

Sibal also said BJP leader Arun Jaitley and IPL commissioner Rajeev Shukla had already met him for bringing in a central legislation as state laws would not be able to deal with the situation.

Vahanvati’s opinion was sought as the government was not sure whether the Centre could enact a law on dishonesty in sports as it is a state subject under the Constitution.
“Dishonest practices like match-fixing and spot-fixing are so abhorrent to the concept of sports that they cannot fall within the concept of sports occurring in Entry 33 and as explained by the Supreme Court in the Cricket Association of Bengal case,” Sibal said quoting legal opinion.

He said the offence of cheating does not adequately deal with spot-fixing and match-fixing. The minister, however, refused to answer to a query on the provisions of law under which the arrested cricketers and bookies will be tried. “The investigators would know better,” he said.

(Published 25 May 2013, 22:19 IST)

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