Report No. 275
BCCI - 'Substantially financed' by the Government?
6.27 It may be accurate to say that the Central Government does not extend any direct financial assistance to BCCI, but it is also on record that it has been giving financial assistance in other forms and manner such as granting concessions in income tax, customs duty etc., providing land at excessively subsidised rates, among others.
6.28 It is on record that the State Governments have also provided land at subsidised rates, at many places to Cricket Associations (for example: The State of Himachal Pradesh allocated about fifty-thousand square metres land to Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association on a ninety-nine-year lease at Re. one per month)171 and that cumulatively, BCCI has enjoyed tax exemptions of thousands of crores.
To be precise, between 1997-2007, the total tax exemption amounted to INR 21,683,237,489/- (INR Twenty-one billion six hundred eighty-three million two hundred thirty-seven thousand four hundred eighty-nine).172It may also be noted here that from 2007-2008 onwards, the registration of BCCI under section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, as a Charitable Trust, was withdrawn.
6.29 Now, after a perusal of the economic connotation of the term "substantially financed" as well as a thorough examination of the judgments of the Apex Court, various High Courts, the CIC as well as other adjudicatory fora, it can be concluded that this term does not necessarily imply "majority financing/funding". What is "substantial" would have to be adjudged on a case-by-case basis, and seen contextually rather than attempting to apply a straight-jacket formula.
6.30 It is also not necessary that the financing only be in the form of direct grants, funding etc., as has been held by the Courts and the CIC, in an array of cases, that tax exemptions/subsidies/concessions, providing land at paltry lease amounts etc., all amount to indirect financing by the Government, rendering such impugned bodies as 'public authorities'.
If the Government is foregoing a significant amount of money (in the form of tax or other levy), which otherwise would have been deposited in the National/State Exchequer, and would have been 96 'public money', it would qualify as indirect "substantial funding" by the Government. And, it would follow that the body/entity receiving such benefits would be a 'public authority', even though it may be a private, non-statutory or non-Government body, thereby putting such a body squarely within the purview of the RTI Act.
6.31 It is worth mentioning here that the Government, Central as well as the States, allowing the use of their infrastructure by BCCI, regularly at the time of events or even otherwise also tanatamounts to 'substantial financing'. It may be noted that the amount of revenue that can alternatively be generated by the Government from making available such infrastructure to any third party, on payment basis, makes the level of this financing particularly 'substantial'.
6.32 Further, the Central as well as the State Governments allowing the BCCI to have monopoly in the game of cricket, impliedly authorising BCCI to raise funds/generate resources from numerous other sources, funds and resources, which otherwise could have been directed to the National/ State Exchequer, also amounts to 'substantial financing'.
6.33 In view of the above, it can be asserted that BCCI has, over the decades, indeed received 'substantial financing' from the Governments.