What is the meaning of “Public Authority” under Section 2(h) of Right To Information Act, 2005?
Section 2(h) of RTI Act 2005 says that “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted,—
(a) by or under the Constitution;
(b) by any other law made by Parliament;
(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;
(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—
(i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
(ii) non-Government Organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;
While answering to all the above question we will refer to the various recommendation of the Law Commission Report, Supreme Court Judgment on RTI and Order of CIC (Central Information Commission).
Judgment/Recommendations on BCCI :-
- 275th Law Commission Report: Commissioner also pointed out that the Law Commission of India recommended BCCI as Public authority:a) Usage of national tricolours on the uniform of Indian cricket team and the Ashok Chakra on their helmets.
b) BCCI nominates cricketers for the Arjuna Awards.
c) Though Parliament proposed a Bill, it did not go further to make sports law on national sports federations such as BCCI.
- Supreme Court: In Thalappalam Service Cooperative Bank Ltd & others vs State of Kerala & Others, Supreme Court said that the Burden to show that a body is owned, controlled or substantially financed or that a NGO is substantially financed directly or indirectly by the funds provided by the appropriate government is on the applicant who seeks information or the appropriate Government and can be examined by the State Information Commission or the Central Information Commission as the case may be, when the question comes up for consideration. Also, SC in 2016 said that it wants all state cricket association to fall in line with the suggestions made by the Justice RM Lodha-led panel on structural reforms of BCCI. The committee recommended to include BCCI under RTI Act.Further, Supreme Court in BCCI vs. Cricket Association of Bihar & Others said that BCCI does discharge several important public functions which make it amenable to writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution even when it is not “state” within the meaning of Article 12.
- CIC (Central Information Commission): The Central Information Commissioner referred to what the Apex Court and other High Courts have said many a time that the BCCI performs a public function and it is straight away related to public activity because of which the BCCI should be accountable to public in general and in public interest.
- The Commission said that in public interest, in the interest of fair Cricket and for fair process of selection of Indian Cricket team members, the BCCI should be made transparent, accountable and answerable under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
There still exists the doubt as to whether BCCI is a public authority under the Right To Information Act, 2005 or not, although on the basis of above studies and opinion/ recommendations it is clear that BCCI is a public authority and shall come under the ambit of the Right To Information Act 2005. So there are still questions which remain unanswered (although we can answer them on the basis of recommendation of Law Commission Report & SC Judgment) these questions are as follows:
Ques.1: Whether the players selected by BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket in India) are playing for India or BCCI?
Ques.2: How can BCCI (a Pvt. Association) represent our country in the National/ International cricket tournament?
Ques.3: What is the benefit of Indian Govt. to give rights/ authority to BCCI to represent our country in Domestic and International Tournament etc?