Setting up of an Appellate Sports Tribunal and a Sports Election Commission and provisions to bar charge-sheeted persons from contesting elections are some of the salient features included in the Draft National Sports Development Bill 2013 which was presented to the government on Wednesday.
The Draft Bill, prepared by the Working Group for Drafting of the National Sports Development Bill 2013 under the chairmanship of Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, was on Wednesday submitted to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.
The Working Group includes eminent sportspersons like Olympic gold medal-winning shooter Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey skipper Viren Rasquinha, sports administrators and legal experts.
"In order to bring about transparency and good governance in the National Sports Federations (NSFs), the Sports Ministry had decided to establish a group under the chairmanship of Justice Mudgal earlier this year, to prepare a revised draft of the bill, which was initially drafted in 2011," the Ministry said in a release.
"They held several meetings and deliberated upon various aspects associated with the matter before coming out with a revised draft, which was today presented to the Sports Minister. The bill has also been put up on the website of the ministry -- www.Yas.Nic.In -- for comments of the general public and other stake-holders," it said.
A copy of the draft will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee for its comments, following an agreement between Indian officials and the IOC in their May 15 meeting in Lausanne.
The draft Bill suggested that duties be imposed on the National Olympic Committee including 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 Bill incorporates the controversial age and tenure guidelines under which all office bearers of the Indian Olympic Association and the NSFs will retire at the age of 70. A person who has served as an officer bearer on the executive body of a NSF/NOC for two consecutive terms shall be ineligible to stand for election.
It, however, added that the President shall be eligible to hold office for 12 years or three terms of office of four years each with or without break. It further suggested that an office bearer of a NSF shall be ineligible to hold post of an office bearer in another NSF.
An Appellate Sports Tribunal is proposed to be established with the selection committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India or his/her nominee judge, Secretary, Department of Sports and President, National Olympic Committee.
An Ethics Commission has also been proposed, which shall enforce a Code of Ethics that will be in accordance with IOC`s code and principles, enshrined in the Constitution of India.
Suggestion for Sports Election Commission has been proposed in the Bill to conduct free and fair elections to the National Olympic Committee, National Sport Federations and the Athletes Commission.
Besides, all NSFs seeking direct or indirect funding shall need to be accredited by the Government and shall have to comply with the accreditation requirements as stated in the Bill; all applications for accreditation have to be decided in 90 days from the date of receipt. Otherwise, the accreditation would be deemed to have been granted.
Another proposal says, in order to represent India in international events and to have a right for a particular sport federation to use `India` or `Indian` in the sport scenario, the NSF shall have to comply with Chapter IV (Unethical Practices in Sports) and Chapter IX (Applicability of Right to Information Act).
The draft Bill talks about setting up of an Athletes Commission with the provision that the athletes be included in the decision making process of executive body. The total strength of the athletes in the executive body shall not be less than 25 per cent of the voting rights.
The draft Bill provides that representation of either gender is not less than 10 per cent of the membership in the General Body, 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.
All cases where the NOC/NSF are parties shall, with the leave of the Supreme Court or the High Court as the case may be, be transferred to the Appellate Sports Tribunal.
An Athletes Commission has been proposed to be set up in each NOC/NSF within six months of promulgation of this Act; the Athletes Commission shall also advise the NOC/NSF on development of the sport, training and competition schedules, athletes grievances, selection and technical criteria, logistics and administration support amongst others.
A two-fold system for functioning of NSFs has also been suggested for introduced i.E recognition and accreditation of the NSFS. Recognition of a NSFs will be dependent upon recognition from the International Federation and/or the National Olympic Committee.
All federations seeking direct or indirect funding will need to be accredited by the Government and shall have to comply with the accreditation requirements as stated in the Bill. All applications for accreditation have to be decided in 90 days from the date of receipt. Otherwise, the accreditation would be deemed to have been granted.