CIC declares Delhi Soccer Association to be a public authority under RTI Act

Central Information Commission: The Commission was hearing an appeal from an RTI applicant who sought information from Delhi Soccer Association (DSA) regarding the status of various complaints received by its office bearers. He also sought details of the members of Sexual Harassment Committee, copy of notices and minutes of meetings of DSA and so on through total eleven points in view of Sexual harassment allegations against the Vice-President of DSA.

Against the appeal, the respondent authority contended that it was not a public authority under S. 2(h) and (f) of the RTI Act. The respondents contended that it was not the appropriate authority to seek information and at the same time, also contended that it had replied to some RTI queries of the appellant. To this, Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu said that its arguments were self contradictory and also bashed the respondents for its conduct stating that such a conduct was highly unbecoming of a sports body concerned with public activity like football. He said they want all the authority relating to sport in the territory, but do not want to disclose any information which ideally, they should have voluntarily disclosed.

Commission noted that DSA is the only State level sports body for football in Delhi and therefore, it intrinsic part of public authority with all the powers, finances and support from the federation to conduct, promote and select teams in the Football sport. Commission further observed that DSA should understand that it is answerable to each and every sports person and sports lover in this country and has an obligation to the nation to bring out highly meritorious football players from the National Capital Region of Delhi, without quarreling to deny any information.

The Commission without any hesitation declared the respondents to be a public authority under the RTI Act as it is under the control of Government of India, AIFF and with grant of monopoly, that is totally established over the sport of Football within territory of NCR of Delhi, the Delhi Soccer Association is a body controlled and substantially financed by the Government of India. Finally, the Commission ordered the DSA to appoint a PIO as per Section 19(8)(a)(ii) of the Act and report back the compliance, within 30 days, update their official website with all the necessary information, intimate what action was taken on the sexual harassment complaints against DSA’s VP without disclosing the name of the complainants and also intimate the appellant if the allegations are correct or not. [D.K. Bose v. PIO, Delhi Soccer Association, 2017 SCC OnLine CIC 1792, decided on 21.11.2017]

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