Justice Mudgal hopes bill against sports fraud will be passed soon

Kolkata, Jan 14 (IANS) Expressing hope that the long pending anti-sports fraud bill will finally see the light of the day, retired Haryana and Punjab Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal on Sunday said current union Sports Minister and Olympic medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is making changes for the good which will soon reflect on various sporting disciplines.

“I hope it (the bill) comes through. Both the bills are pending. Sporting fraud bill as well as the sports bill,” Mudgal told IANS on the sidelines of his lecture session titled “Sports and Governance: The Way Forward” at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.

The (Prevention of) Sporting Fraud Bill, drafted in the aftermath of the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case, stipulates jail term for officials, sportspersons and entities involved in corrupt practices in sport.

Mudgal, who headed the committee which investigated allegations of spot-fixing and betting in the IPL, has been pressing the central government to enact the bill for a long time.

Asked how long will it take for the bill to be passed, Mudgal said: “You should ask Parliament as well as the government.

“I am sure that the present Sports Minister is trying his level best. He is a very good person and you know his achievements. He is also from the army … he is making every effort … he is pro-athletes and pro-sportsmen. He has already made many changes which you will see later.”

The proposed bill contains provisions for five-to-six years of jail to those, including private companies, directly or indirectly indulging in or attempting any sporting fraud.

It clearly defines ‘inside information’ and ‘sporting fraud’ and states that ‘manipulation or attempt to manipulate result(s), irrespective of whether the outcome is actually altered or not’, will incur a jail term.

Countries such as Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Denmark already have laws for prevention of sporting frauds since betting is legal there.

Talking about the Supreme Court agreeing to modify certain recommendations of the Justice (Retd) R.M. Lodha Committee as they may “not be a good idea in this country”, Mudgal said he is “certainly” disappointed with the ways things have gone BCCI’s way despite the SC verdict being final.

“Certainly yes. I would like to tell a little about the procedure of the Supreme Court. If there is a judgement which is generally final, you can file a review petition against it which again is rare to succeed.

“But if review fails, you have the Curative petition which is even more difficult to succeed at. BCCI has tried both these remedies and both have gone. Now for the Supreme Court in the current format, to entertain BCCI and give then an opportunity of saying ‘what can you obey and what you cannot obey’, I don’t think if it was any other field, this would have been given.

“Supposing this was a direction given to a bank, you won’t ask the banker ‘can you give this much… no’. I think the law of the land says the judgement is final particularly after review and curative petition,” Mudgal said.

On his new role as Chairman of FIFA review and governance committees, Mudgal said his job is to suggest reforms to the world soccer governing body and check integrity matters while recruiting people.

“We are suggesting reforms which should be carried out by FIFA. The second is review committee which means every person who wants to be elected to FIFA or wants to be appointed to a post in FIFA has to go through an integrity check from us… the committee of three… These are the major things.”

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