Delhi Soccer Association answerable under RTI Act: CIC

first_imgNew Delhi, Nov 27 (PTI) The Central Information Commission has declared the Delhi Soccer Association (DSA) a “public authority”, thus making it answerable to people under the Right to Information Act.The ruling comes after one D K Bose sought to know from the DSA the status of various complaints received by the association against its office bearers from girl footballers of the national capital.When no information was provided to him, the petitioner approached the Central Information Commission (CIC).The football association claimed before the CIC that it did not come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act as it was not defined as a “public authority”, hence, it was not answerable to queries posed by Bose through his application.”…respondent is not a public authority as defined under Section 2(h) and (f) of the RTI Act, as is nor financed by the government, neither the government had any external control in day-to-day administration of the Delhi Soccer Association as defined in the judgement of the apex court titled TMA Pai and other vs state of Karnataka and other,” the DSA said.The parent body, All India Football Federation (AIFF), also wrote to DSA asking it to “properly investigate” the matter raised by Bose and provide a suitable item-wise RTI reply along with relevant supporting documents.The DSA, however, replied to AIFF claiming that petitioner Bose of Hindustan Football Club was known for manipulating documents for his personal benefits, and sought action against him.After going through the responses of DSA, AIFF and arguments of Bose, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu noted that even in performing its activities as a sole body of football in Delhi, the DSA was expected to act under the control and supervision of the All India Football Federation, a public authority under the Ministry of Sports.advertisementHe noted that the the monopoly recognised, sanctioned and continued by the government through the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (through the All India Football Federation) was indirect, but had substantial funding by the government.”This factor is enough to declare the DSA as public authority, though another criterion could also be applied, i.e the direct and real control of the government or governmental agencies over it,” he said.Acharyulu noted that frequent complaints by women sports persons, including those of sexual harassment, against an important executive like vice president reflect an unhealthy atmosphere prevalent in the DSA.”The submissions by the DSA are self-contradictory. On one hand, it accuses the application as misuse, and admits that it has given the information as far as possible, on the other hand, it claims that it is not bound to give any information,” he said.The information commissioner further said that the soccer body did not deny having complete monopoly over the game (of football) in Delhi, but refused to be answerable under the RTI Act.”This is highly unbecoming of a sports body. In fact, being a public body concerned with public activity like football, the DSA should have voluntarily disclosed the entire information about it, including the bits and pieces asked by the appellant in this and several other appeals, and fulfil its obligation under Section 4 of RTI Act,” he said.He said the DSA should understand that it was answerable to each and every sports person and sports lover in the country, and has an obligation to the nation to bring out highly meritorious football players from the city, without quarrelling to deny information.”The Commission has no hesitation to declare unequivocally that being under the control of the AIFF, and with grant of monopoly, established over the sport of football within the territory of NCR of Delhi, the Delhi Soccer Association is a body controlled and substantially financed by the Government of India, and hence, a public authority under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005,” Acharyulu added. PTI ABS SRYlast_img read more