Secularism Basic To Constitution
THIS refers to Pachu Menon’s letter, ‘Obsession with holy men and spiritual gurus’ (NT, April 30, 2018). It is because of the secular nature of our Constitution that has made the conviction of self-styled godman Asaram Bapu possible. It is perfectly constitutional if Ram occupies our private space but it will be against the spirit of our Constitution if an Asaram starts enjoying the public space. Unfortunately, some people have been trying to do away with the word ‘secular’ from our Constitution by spreading half-truths. They argue that since this word was not there in the original Constitution, it should not be a part of it. It is true that this word was not in the Preamble when the Constitution was adopted and enacted on November 26, 1949 or when it came into effect on January 26, 1950. It was incorporated by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. But in no way can it be suggested that the ideals of secularism had not been part of our original Constitution. This is totally a false propaganda based on half-truths. Indeed, Article 25 to Article 30 of our Constitution are the embodiment of the spirit of secularism.
SUJIT DE, KOLKATA
BCCI Should Bat For Transparency
TILL recently the Board of Control for Cricket in India had been transparent and accountable. But the body, which is one of the richest sporting boards of the world, has now touched new lows. The Justice RM Lodha committee has made far-reaching recommendations to improve the functioning of the board. The committee of administrators, appointed to the BCCI, is doing its best to restore order. The BCCI is an autonomous body; but whether or not it fell into the ‘public authority’ or ‘state’ category with substantial ‘public functions’ had been unclear preventing the government from bringing it under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. Another issue pertained to the financial autonomy of the BCCI, as the absence of government funds acted as a deterrent against bringing it under the RTI Act. The government had asked the Law Commission to clear the air. The panel has recommended that the BCCI be brought under the purview of the RTI Act. The panel has opined the BCCI is indeed a public authority as it performs ‘state-like’ functions. Moreover, it receives ‘public’ funding as also the government’s substantial largesse in the form of income tax and custom concessions, and procuring land at subsidised rates and, therefore, fit to be brought under the RTI. It is important to understand that the BCCI selects the Indian cricket team to represent the nation and not the board. It also represents the country at the International Cricket Council and hence wields state-like powers. Very significantly, the national colours worn by the Indian team, and that the BCCI nominates the players for national awards, have also been taken into account by the commission to vindicate its stand.
GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA