The revised Draft National Sports Development Bill has sought to declare persons against whom criminal charges have been framed under section 228 of the Criminal Procedure Code, to be ineligible to contest elections of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) or the National Sports Federations (NSF).

The Draft Bill, presented by the Chairman of the Working Group, Justice Mukul Mudgal, to the Union Sports Minister, Jitendra Singh, here on Wednesday, has also covered various aspects including the eligibility of sports persons to represent the country.

Though conceding that the right to select a national team is derived by a NSF from being recognised by the respective international federation, the Sports Bill has stated that in order to represent India in international events and for the right to use ‘India’ or ‘Indian’, the concerned national federation has to comply with the chapters, ‘Elimination of unethical practices in Sports’ and ‘Applicability of Right to Information Act’.

It has also been clarified that only Indian citizens will have the right to represent India.

An Appellate Sports Tribunal has been proposed with the selection committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India or his nominee judge, Secretary, Department of Sports, and the President of the National Olympic Committee.

It has been suggested that all cases involving the NOC and NSFs be transferred to the Sports Tribunal, with the permission of the Supreme Court or the High Court, as the case may be.

Along with it, an Ethics Commission has been prescribed to enforce a Code of Ethics in accordance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Code and the principles of the Constitution of India.

A Sports Election Commission has been proposed, to conduct elections of the NOC, NSFs and the Athletes Commission.

Quite understandably, the recognition of the International Sports Federation and the NOC, has been fixed as the primary requirement for the recognition of an NSF by the Union Sports Ministry. Moreover, any federation that gains funds from the government directly, or indirectly, will have to be accredited by the government.

It has also been specified that all NSFs accredited to the government need to comply with the stipulations that: (i) office bearers retire at the age of 70 years; (ii) athletes nominated by the Athletes Commission are included in the executive body; (iii) there is at least 25 per cent of athletes in the executive body with voting rights; (iv) ensure at least 10 per cent of membership of either gender in the general body.

Except for the president who is allowed three consecutive terms, none of the other office-bearers would be eligible to contest a third term, immediately after completing two successive terms.

Nobody would be allowed to be an office-bearer in more than one sports federation at a time.

The Athletes Commission will advise the NOC and NSFs, among others, on developing the sport, training and competition schedules, athletes grievances, selection and technical criteria, logistics and administration support.

The Union Sports Ministry has published the Draft National Sports Development Bill on its website for comments of the stake-holders and the public. A copy will be sent to the IOC for its comments.