The Union Sports Ministry has said, in response to an RTI query, that a certified copy of the Constitution of a National Sports Federations (NSF) was not a pre-requisite for gaining recognition.

The secretary of the Delhi Carrom Association, V.D. Narayan, had taken the Union Sports Ministry and the All India Carrom Federation (AICF) to court, on the grounds that the former continued to recognise the latter despite the government guidelines having been flouted in the election of the federation held in July last year.

While the Delhi High Court, which admitted the case in January, has allowed the Union Sports Ministry four more months — till September — to respond, Narayan sought response from both the national carrom federation and the Ministry on a variety of points through RTI queries.

“The Ministry has supplied me with a copy of the Constitution of the AICF, which is not even signed by any official of the federation. The Ministry has accepted the most important document for granting recognition to a national federation without verifying its authenticity,” said Narayan, pointing out that it was not possible to purchase even a mobile SIM card without valid address proof.

He exposed the contradiction by saying that the government had mentioned in its letter in November 2009 that a copy of a “valid registration certificate issued by the authorities concerned” was mandatory for annual recognition.

“A valid registration certificate is part of the complete set of the Constitution, which includes Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations, and Certificate of Registration. These documents also contain the registered address of the Federation,” Narayan said.

There was also a contradiction about the registered address of the AICF, and Narayan sought to know whether proper procedures were followed in changing the registered address of the federation from Chennai to Delhi.

Moreover, since the Delhi team was not allowed to compete in the National championship in Akola on the grounds that it had not competed in the National sub-junior championship, Narayan raised a series of questions about the records kept by the national federation on the subject, and “did not get satisfactory answers”.

There was no record of annual reports and annual accounts of the affiliated units, or whether they were hosting the State championships at various levels, with the national federation. The AICF, however, conceded that it would put all the details henceforth on its website, from the current season.

“There are many recent discussions on television suggesting that the RTI and the government code would make the Cricket Board better. I have realised that the RTI questions do not get the correct and timely response. What is the point in having guidelines if there is no punishment for not following it?” asked Narayan.

After failing to impress upon the government that the AICF was flouting guidelines in a communication to the Union Sports Ministry in October, the Delhi Carrom Federation secretary took the matter to the Delhi High Court, in January.

On May 15, the day of the first hearing on the case, the advocate representing the government appeared before the court and asked for more time, and was given four more months to respond.

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