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No healthy sports policy

No healthy sports policy
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A sports lover Deepak Sandhu has asked under the RTI Act from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for information: (1) certified copy of “in...

A sports lover Deepak Sandhu has asked under the RTI Act from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for information: (1) certified copy of “in competition” and “out of competition” drug analysis history done by National Anti Doping Authority NADA/other respective authorities for the past couple of years (2015-2016) upon the Ministry’s request to NADA; (2) Certified copy of all requisition letters that belong to the esteemed respondent federation sought drug analysis (anti-doping) from NADA for the past two years i.e., 2015-16; (3) Certified copy of response/replication/execution of drug analysis by NADA in addition to a copy of their denial, if any, since the years (2015-16) in response; (4) Certified copy of the number of players found positive during drug analysis i.e., doped ones and action taken by the federation for the aforesaid tenure; (5) Criteria of selection of bodybuilders to contest at national level and other parameters, if any, that are required (6) Are anti-doping being performed at state/regional/district levels that in prime barrier to cross or to qualify for national championships?

There was no response from the FAA and the CPIO. A second appeal has been filed by the appellant before Central Information Commission (CIC). The appellant made an RTI request with queries regarding implementation of a fair and effective sports policy for anti-doping in India so that deserving sportsmen get opportunities, the tainted players are discouraged at the sub-ordinate levels and our national prestige and honour would not be blemished across the world.

All the prohibited drugs specified by world anti doping agency must be analysed as per World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Code 2015 including pivotal guidelines laid down under international standards of testing and investigations due to the fact that every single drug has its unique detection time and method. It would be detected in one’s body if sample procurement and detection methods have been meticulously, strictly executed only as per rules and guidelines laid down under entire WADA code 2015.

However, there are no provisions for implementing anti-doping provisions at regional, district and state levels nor impeccable drug analysis done by National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL), as a result of which the candidates using drugs get selected in the sub-ordinate levels and later are disqualified under anti-doping guidelines upon whom hefty amounts of the national sports budgets go waste, while the deserving candidates get eliminated.

Deepak Sandhu wanted information regarding the action taken by the Ministry in this regard and requisition letters that IBBF moved to National Anti-Doping Agency regarding Anti -Doping during 2015-16.

The CPIO submitted that the corresponding letter between NADA and the respondent authority in the year 2015-16 requesting NADA to conduct dope tests and seminars was sent to the appellant along with the copy of circulars of the championships held. A letter dated 24.06.2014 from World Body Building and Physical Sports Federation was addressed to Director General, NADA, requesting them to make provision for 8 doping tests kits to be made available for the purpose of surprise tests during the competition. It included their undertaking to make payments for the doping test kits as per the NADA rules.

The letters produced are evidence to the fact that the respondent authority has been regularly corresponding with NADA about official competitions. But as no athletes were banned or considered as ineligible during the period mentioned, there was no list of banned athletes.

The appellant was also provided the list of all affiliated State units/ UTs/Government Sports Boards which are affiliated with Indian Body Builders Federation along with registered address, names of President and Secretary of the affiliated units. After the hearing, the appellant made a detailed written submission. stating:“That the prime objection regarding said replication is that not even a single page out of 122 pages has been either certified, attested or duly stamped by concerned CPIO, IBBF or any other concerned authorized signatory of Indian body builders federation, Mumbai.

There is no relevant information (requisition letter) regarding selection trial for 49th Asian & 7th world body building & physique sports championship 2015 among these 122 pages compilation. BBF provided a list of 31 IBBF affiliated units (state associates/union territories, and further I requested the CPIO to provide certified copies of all requisition letters moved by all these state/union territory (subordinate ones) IBBF's affiliated federation/associations to national anti doping agency for the year 2015-16. I mailed my objections to you vide postal receipt no. a rh272408109in, 10/08/17 and carbon copy of that letter was also C.P.I.O. IBBF, Mumbai vide postal receipt no. a RH272408333IN, 10/08/2017, but, unfortunately, no response from concerned public authority has been received so far.”

As per Section 4 (1) (c), a public authority has to publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing decisions which affect the public. The public authority does not have a policy for implementing anti-drug provisions at regional or state-level sports competitions, which facilitate no testing till they reach national level and beyond. Because of this, meritorious or highly eligible candidates might lose their chances to those who use drugs, as apprehended by the appellant. It is the duty of the public authority to eliminate doping drug-use at all levels and remove the apprehensions of the public such as the appellant.

The Commission recommends evolving a comprehensive policy as suggested in paragraphs 2, 3 and 5. Many times, lack of policy causes many problems and gives rise to complaints. Why not the Sports Ministry bring out a policy to follow under international standards of testing and investigations, in tune with World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Code 2015 for analysing the prohibited drugs as specified. Why not they develop methods for sample procurement and detection as per rules and guidelines laid down under WADA code 2015? When there are no provisions for implementing anti-doping provisions at regional, district and state levels, how can they prevent drug abuse at national level and beyond?

Why should not we have a comprehensive National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) and National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) to detect drug abuse at early stage before they enter national level? When sports is earning huge money, why not they spend on establishing the laboratories to prevent these unethical and criminal practices? The nation should be free from such sports crimes at every level. Having no policy of testing in the sub-ordinate or regional levels should not mean that sportspersons can use the drugs to outwit the genuine sports persons. If they are disqualified for anti-doping at a later stage, the money spent on them to train and send them to national levels goes waste. Even the hefty amounts for the national sports budgets go wasted, while the deserving candidates get eliminated.

The World Body Building and Physical Sports Federation addressed a letter dated 24.06.2014 to Director General, NADA, requesting them to make provision for 8 doping tests kits to be made available for the purpose of surprise tests during the competition. It included their undertaking to make payments for the doping test kits as per the NADA rules.

It is the duty of the ministry to develop healthy sports to make a mark at world level by encouraging ethical sports. It is sad that public authorities do not act on the constructive suggestions coming in the form of RTI questions and also refuse to answer in a proper manner.

The Commission directed the respondent authority, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to facilitate inspection of relevant files, within 15 days. The CPIO is also directed to provide the compliance report of the orders in the cases filed by Mr. Deepak Sandhu heard before this Commission, subsequent to inspection availed by the appellant. (Based on decision in Deepak Sandhu v. PIO, IBBF, CIC/SAOIN/A/2017/140574 dated 21.11.2017)

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