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India is achieving its great heights in every field and sector. When we are approaching the 75th Independence Day of India, India is yet to achieve so many milestones. One of the milestones India achieved recently is the passing of The National Anti-Doping Bill 2021. The Lok Sabha introduced the Anti-Doping bill on 17th December 2021 and passed it on 27th July 2022. The upper body Rajya Sabha passed the same bill on 3rd August 2022. Thus, India is all set to have a special doping law and regulation. Through the passing of the bill India joins the group of around 30 countries which have a specialised anti-doping bills for their own. Through this blog let us discuss what is anti-doping bill and its highlights.
The Anti-Doping Bill and its Background – Explained.
Doping is the administering of any kind of prohibited substances (drugs) for the enhancement of the performance by athletes. The international Olympiad on 1999 established World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for monitoring and issuing guidelines for the same. In 2005 Wada has been recognised by the UNESCO international convention against doping in sports. The major functions of the WADA include:
- The proper implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADA Code) and its standards;
- conducting investigations into doping incidents;
- conducting research on doping;
- educating sportspersons and related personnel on anti-doping regulations.
WADA once in a year publishes the list of prohibited substances as part of its doping regulation. As part of the reports of WADA, the most doping is done in body building followed by athletes, cycling and weightlifting respectively.
As part of the coercion of the WADA every nation establishes their own Anti-doping organizations and laws to prevent the same. In India, an organization named National Anti-Doping Agency has been established. It was just a society registered under the Societies Registration Act or 1860. The major functions of the NADA include:
- Implementing anti-doping rules as per World Anti-Doping Code;
- Regulating doping control programme;
- Conducting dope tests, and
- Authorising penalties in case of any violations.
Even though there existed an organization to implement the regulation and coercion of the WADA, there were no Anti-Doping law or code for India specifically. The standing committee on sports in 2021 observed that, the anti-doping rules are not backed by any legislation and are open to be challenged in any court of law. Thus, this forced the ministry of sports to formulate complete legislation regarding the Anti-Doping which give way to The National Anti-Doping Bill 2021.
The National Anti-Doping Bill 2021 – Key Highlights
There are several key highlights for this bill and can be summarised as below:
- The prohibition of Doping
- Consequences of violation ‘
- Establishes a statutory authority called National Anti-Doping Agency
- Authorises to collect date relating to athletes and doping
- National Board for anti-doping in sports.
- Disciplinary and appeal panels.
The Prohibition of Doping.
The purpose of the act is to prohibit the practice of doping. By way of legislation, it prohibits the practice of doping. It prohibits the practice of doping among the athletes and also among the athletes’ supporters which includes the trainers, coach, manager, team staff, medical personnel and other personnel associated with the athletes. It prohibits the following activities:
- The presence of prohibited substance or their markers in the body
- Use or attempted use of the prohibited substance or the methods
- Trafficking of the prohibited substance or method or its attempt to do so.
- Possession of the prohibited substance or the method.
- Refusal to give samples.
- Covering up the details of the same.
Consequences of the violation
The law specifies the consequences of the violation too. The consequences of the violation include:
- Disqualification of the result including the forfeiture of the points, prizes and medals
- Athletes will be barred from participating in competition or events for prescribed time.
- Financial sanctions
- Other consequences as prescribed.
Establishes a statutory authority called National Anti-Doping Agency
This may seem to be so repetitive for the readers and may doubt what special in this. There was also this agency before the passing of the bill. Through the introduction of the bill, the nature of the agency has changed. The NADA was just a society registered under the Societies Registration Act or 1860 but after the passing of the bill it has got a statutory authority. The NADA will be designated as statutory body having powers and functions. The major functions of the agency include:
- To plan implement and monitor the anti-doping activities;
- To investigate anti-doping rule violation
- Promote Anti-Doping research.
Authorises to collect date relating to athletes and doping
Normally the data collection that too including the personal data collections needs special powers and permission as it is against the privacy. But the bill authorises the agency to collect the data of athletes in the following heads:
- Sex of the athletes
- Medical history of the athletes
- Whereabouts of the athletes.
The bill prescribes the procedure for the collection and disclosure of the information. If any of the athletes violates the rule, the data of the will be publicly disclosed.
National Board for Anti-Doping in spots.
The bill provides for the establishment of a National Board for Anti-Doping in sports to recommend the government for the newly regulation rule and other internal commitment also. The board will oversee the functions of the agency and give directions to it. The Board is consisting of a chairperson and two members appointed by the central government.
Establishment of Disciplinary and Appeal Panels.
The bill establishes a disciplinary panel for evaluating the consequences of the violation of the said act. The disciplinary board will consist of a chairperson and 4 vice chairperson (legal experts) and 10 members (eminent retired sports persons).
- The bill establishes for a appeal panel to hear the appeals regarding:
- refusal to grant therapeutic use exemption
- imposition of consequences for anti-doping rule violation
- any other decision as prescribed
The appeal panel will consist of a chairperson (a retired High Court judge), a vice chair person (legal expert) and 4 members (medical practitioner and eminent sports persons).
Dope Testing Laboratories
The National Dope Testing Laboratory will be deemed as Principal dope testing laboratory. The bill establishes many dope testing laboratories also.
Criticism for the National Anti-Doping Bill 2021.
For any bill there will be criticism and the public are allowed to raise its criticism and it is called democracy. The major criticisms emerged regarding the new bill are the following:
- The NADA director’s qualification is not specified in the bill. Not only that, the central government may remove the director general from the office on the grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity or such other ground. Here the term such other ground is too vague and unambiguous and gives an arbitrary power to the central government to remove the director general. Thus, the appointment and the removal are just at the arbitrariness of the central government as per the new bill.
- Under the bill the National Anti-Doping Board has power to remove the members of the disciplinary panel and appeal panel. The grounds for the removal are not specified and also the bill is mandating the opportunity of being heard before the removal and thus violating the natural principle of justice.
These two criticisms are widely raising and is affecting the independence of the bodies of established by the Anti-Doping law and so is the independence of the anti-doping activities.
This is a comprehensive analysis of the new Anti-Doping Bill 2021. Go through the major particulars of the bill, its components. Make sure you remember the major particulars also. Along with being a good competitor for the competitive examination be a good well aware citizen by knowing what is happening around you. Study with Entri for being in a position to make such laws or grab awareness about the current events of our country and raise your voice against or support of it. Enrol to Entri for having more Explained Series. Keep studying Keep winning.