The Central Information Commission today adjourned a crucial hearing on declaring the Indian cricket board as public authority under RTI Act after the sports body produced a stay from the Madras High Court.
The Commission had constituted a Full Bench to hear the matter and issued a notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India and all its affiliates to bring along with them details of land, buildings, stadiums allotted by state government among others. The BCCI was also asked to produce Income Tax exemptions received by it.
The hearing was scheduled to start today at 4 PM but BCCI produced the stay granted by Madras High Court. The panel then decided to adjourn the matter till the stay was vacated or an appropriate order was received from a higher bench of the High Court or Supreme Court.
The CIC is a government body formed to effectively shed light on the working of India's traditionally opaque public institutions by entertaining petitions from the public under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
"Matter of bringing BCCI under purview of RTI Act is of utmost national importance when BCCI conducts cricket matches with teams controlled by it named as 'Indian team' getting all types of recognition and facilities from Union and state governments," RTI applicant Madhu Agrawal had pleaded before the Commission.
The CIC's issuing of a notice to the BCCI is yet another step by the Indian government to establish the BCCI as a public body. The BCCI is currently registered as a private society.
CIC's deputy registrar KL Dass, who is the signatory on the notice to the BCCI, said: "The question here is whether the BCCI is a public authority or not and the CIC wants to check if the BCCI is getting any government funding? This is why CIC has asked the BCCI and its units to provide details."
Angry protests followed after the CIC adjourned Thursday's hearing. Former Indian spinner Kirti Azad said: "The BCCI has made a mockery of the game".