The BCCI logo resembles ‘Star of India’ honour given by British before 1947 AFP

Why is the Indian cricket team still using a BCCI logo which resembles ‘Star of India’ honour given by the British to their favourite princes in colonial times? This is a poser by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the ministries of sports and law. The Commission said the symbol of the BCCI is similar to the representation of the star of the order on the mantle of British Raj. “After the First War of Indian Independence in 1857, to consolidate its sovereignty over India, the British Crown created a new order of knighthood to honour loyal Indian princes. No such honours were given after 1948. Did anybody notice that the BCCI is still hanging on to this colonial legacy, ‘symbolically’, and our team flags this logo even today,” the CIC asked. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Pakistan, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 Final at The Oval

He asked why the government does not change the logo to a truly Indian symbol with either tricolour or four lions or Ashoka’s Dharm Chakra or any other decided by it. In a stern order, the Commission has also sought to know from these authorities to explain why the government is not bringing the Board of Control for Cricket of India (BCCI) under the RTI Act despite saying so in a Lok Sabha response. The questions are among five such queries on which the transparency panel has sought an explanation from these authorities.

“Why the BCCI is still using the logo designed by British Raj in 1928 which resembles 90 per cent the symbol of star of India given by British Raj to his loyal princes…,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in an order issued on the plea of activist Subhash Agrawal. He also directed the public authorities to disclose the status of a bill to prevent sports fraud and match fixing. “Why sports frauds like match fixing and betting are not prohibited and action was not being taken effectively,” Acharyulu asked the PMO and the ministries.

He also asked them to disclose why the government is not bringing a uniform policy for rewarding winning international sports persons to prevent unhealthy competition for publicity among various governments. In 2012, the then UPA government had planned to introduce a bill to curb match fixing and sports fraud.

“…the government has proposed to bring all the National Sports Federations including BCCI under the RTI Act in the proposed Draft National Sports Development Bill with provision of exclusion clause protecting personal/confidential information relating to athletes,” a Lok Sabha response in 2012 has said.

The Commission also recommended that the Union government may consider shifting the subject of sports from State List in the Constitution of India to the Concurrent List to facilitate a uniform policy and law on the sports bodies making them answerable under the RTI Act.

Acharyulu also said the questions are supposed to have been answered as part of their obligation under Section 4(1) (b) of RTI Act…within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order.

“Justice Mudgal Committee which was probing the IPL affairs in 2014 has highlighted in its report the need for enactment of a special legislation to declare all forms of manipulations of sports, corruption and malpractices a criminal offence,” it said.

The sports ministry had told the Commission that the PMO has advised the department to re-examine whether sports fraud needs a standalone act or it can be dealt with by making necessary provisions in the Indian Penal Code and to seek expert legal opinion on this.

“Accordingly the Ministry of Law was consulted on this issue. Beyond this the progress on this aspect is not known,” the ministry had said.