The Himachal Pradesh assembly today passed Himachal Pradesh Sports (Registration, Recognition and Regulation of Associations) Bill, 2015 amid heated arguments between treasury and opposition benches.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh leading the debate assured that there is no regulation to monitor sports associations in the state. However, Opposition BJP questioned the intension of the State Government behind bringing it.
BJP member Suresh Bhardwaj termed the Bill against the spirit of the Olympics as there was no country-level legislation to regulate the sports associations. He demanded to send the bill to the joint select committee of the legislature before its passing.
Deputy Speaker Jagat Singh Negi defended the Bill and questioned the BJP for defending the “misdeeds” of the HPCA.
Randhir Sharma questioned the haste behind passing the bill and termed Sports Bill anti sports and anti sportsmen. House also witnessed heated argument between Randhir Sharma and Chief Minister. However, when BJP member Satpal Satti started speaking on the debate, members of the treasury benches started disturbing him and upon it agitated opposition members stood up and rushed towards the speaker’s seat and started raising slogans.
In the melee, the bill was passed by voice vote.
Later interacting with the media, Chief Minister denies allegations of attempting to control sports associations through Sports Bill.
Virbhadra Singh said that after careful examination of the Bill, one will know that the aim of this Bill is to extend support to the sports associations and bringing transparency in their functioning. He said
“The objective of this Bill is to democratise the functioning of the sports associations and to make them accountable for performance in games and sports”,
He said that it was nowhere provided that any legislation by the State Government would debar the players from selection in Olympics games.
He said that a writ petition filed against the similar legislation was dismissed by the High Court of Rajasthan and it was unfortunate that the members of the state assembly were objecting to the passing of the Bill. It would have been better that the opposition members instead of having faith in their own judicial prudence should better have faith in judicial verdict, he further added.
Key features of Sports Bill
• At present there is no regulation for these Sports associations, to meet out these objectives.
• The legislation aims to democratize the sports bodies and intend to regulate them for the purpose of legislation, elections, maintenance of accounts and financial accountability, rights and obligations of these associations for promoting sports and games in Himachal Pradesh from village to State level.
• The department of Sports and Youth is mandated to strengthen the stakeholders. The Sports associations at the district and the State level are the main instruments through which the department, as a catalyst, encourages the sports person to achieve excellence in their respective fields. These objectives of inculcating democratic values, fair play equity intended to be realized.
• This legislation proposes that every Sports Association, schedule ‘B’ in the bill other than Primary Sports Body, shall be required to be registered.
• The Registrar of co-operative Societies shall perform the functions of the Registrar for the purpose of this legislation.
• Every sports association mandated to frame its Constitution consisting of memorandum and bye-laws. Every such association shall have an executive body duly elected through a democratic process and election of the Executive Body shall be held once in every four years.
• The legislation provides that there will be an independent election officer to supervise, control and conduct the elections of theses sports associations and entrusted with the task of publication of voters list and other statutory requirements like notice and conduct of election through ballot etc, to ensure fair elections.
• Every registered district level sports association shall be a member of the concerned State Level Sports Association and every Primary Sports Body shall be a member of the respective district level sports association. Hence a chain from primary sports body upto State level is envisaged.
• The legislation wants to safeguard the interest of sports person, due to which, right and obligation have been imposed upon all the State and district level sports Association i.e. maintenance of record, timely conduct of championships, sending players to State and National Level tournaments, providing coaching and other facilities etc to the sports person of the State.
• The legislation focuses to establish a system, in which, the sports and games get the special attention, primary attention through these sports associations so that stakeholders may get the best of opportunities to represent the State.
• This legislation wants to stop the infighting amongst various associations at district and State level in various sports, which are fighting the cases in the competent court of adjudication through mechanism of arbitration.
• The legislation has given right to appeal to the aggrieved party to file an appeal against the orders of Registrar before the appellant authority.
• This legislation covers all Sports Associations in Himachal Pradesh. Presently 42 Associations have been included in Schedule ‘B’ which cover nearly all sports like Football, Basketball, Athletics, Hockey, Cricket, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball etc. If required, more Associations can be added or deleted from the Schedule.
• The legislation covers all aspects, which are necessary for regulation of Sports Associations to enable them to function in a democratic manner, remain accountable with regard to promotion of all games and sports and prosper in a free and fair environment and to uphold the cause of sportsperson of this State.