The Delhi Soccer Association president Shaji Prabhakaran has welcomed Central Information Commission’s decision to declare the State football body accountable under Right to Information Act.
Prabhakaran, elected to the DSA Presidents office earlier this month, has restoration of transparency in the DSA governance as one of the priority items on his agenda. The latest CIC verdict will only help him in smooth implementation of his plans. “I personally welcome this (the CIC order). We have to be absolutely transparent. The CIC order is also a step in that direction. We are for making all the information available to not just our associates or people who seek some specific knowledge, but the common public as well,” Prabhakaran told insidesport.co.
The former FIFA South Central Asia Development Officer, Prabhakaran has called the first meeting of the new DSA executive on December 2. He is keen on starting the reforms process from the very first meeting. “We will like to put even our accounts on the DSA website. We will restore complete accountability and transparency,” he added.
The CIC on Monday had declared the DSA a “public authority” that will be answerable to people under the RTI Act.
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, reports Outlookindia.com. He has stated that 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,” Acharyulu said and noted that frequent complaints by women sports persons, including those of sexual harassment, against an important executive like (DSA) vice president reflect an unhealthy atmosphere prevalent in the DSA.
The ruling comes after a senior DSA member D K Bose, presently barred for a period of three years for alleged anti-association activities, 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.
The petitioner had approached the CIC as DSA has declined to provide any information.
DSA had claimed before the CIC that it did not come under the RTI Act because it was not defined as a “public authority”. Thus it did not have an obligation to answer to queries raised in the application moved by Bose.
“…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), had also written 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 had found and announced various grounds to declare the association a public authority liable under the RTI Act.