'Persons facing criminal charges can't contest elections to NSFs'

'Persons facing criminal charges can't contest elections to NSFs'

The revised draft of the proposed National Sports Bill, apart from attempting to bring all the sports bodies under the RTI act, bars charge-sheeted individuals from contesting the elections.

The draft was submitted on Wednesday by Working Group chairman Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.  The Working Group included eminent sportspersons including shooter Abhinav Bindra and former hockey player Viren Rasquinha, sports administrators and legal experts. 

A copy of the draft would also be send to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The draft of Bill, however, has been diluted to get clearance from the Cabinet which had rejected it during the tenure of Ajay Maken as the Sports Minister and asked the Sports Ministry to redraft it.

One of the members of Working Group Rahul Mehra, disclosed on Wednesday that he had resigned on May 31 on the grounds that the new draft was a diluted version of the first one. “I do feel this Draft Sports Bill has been diluted from the previous draft prepared during Ajay Maken's tenure and has defeated the entire reform process,” he said. Mehra, particularly, felt the present draft has gone soft on BCCI. It may be recalled that the last time the draft Bill faced objections in the Cabinet was solely because of the resistance put up by the BCCI against the Bill.

The salient features of the draft include duties be imposed on the National Olympic Committee, like “performing functions according to the Olympic Charter, responsibility for bidding for international multi-sport events, in-house mechanism to address grievances, conduct National Games at regular intervals, constitute Athletes’ Commission and function as a public authority under the RTI and submission of report to the Parliament.”

The draft also states that the anti-doping rules be made applicable to all National Sports Federation stating:  “The role of the anti-doping agency has been crystallized and anti-doping rules have been made applicable to all National Sport Federations and the National Olympic Committee subject to compliance of the International Federation of the particular sport’s compliance with the WADA rules.”

 Setting up of an Ethics Commission has also been proposed in compliance with the IOC rules and the Indian Constitution. The draft also includes the controversial age and tenure guidelines for the office bearers of the NSFs  and  the IOA by  putting a cap of 70 years. “A person who has served as an office-bearer on the executive body of an NSF/NOC for two consecutive terms shall be ineligible to stand for elections,” it says.

The Working Group also put “some standards” for those contesting the elections and has barred those who have been charge-sheeted in criminal cases. “A person against whom criminal charges have been framed under the Criminal Procedure Code (section 228) shall be ineligible to contest elections of the NOC/NSF.”

An Appellate Sports Tribunal, too, has been proposed to be established “with the selection committee constituting of Chief Justice of India or his/her nominee judge, Secretary (Department of Sports) and President (National Olympic Committee).”

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