NATIONAL ANTI-DOPING BILL, 2021

  • Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the National Anti-Doping Bill 2021 Bill that seeks to create a statutory framework for the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA).
  • Piloted by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, it was first introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2021.
  • The bill will protect the interest of sportspersons as it will provide ample space for them to put forth their versions especially when they face anti- doping charges.

Key Features of the Bill

  • The Bill prohibits athletes, athlete support personnel and other persons from engaging in doping in sport.
  • Anti-doping rule violation may result in disqualification of results including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes, ineligibility to participate in a competition or event for a prescribed period, financial sanctions etc.
  • The Bill provides for constituting this National Anti-Doping Agency as a statutory body.
  • It will be headed by a Director General appointed by the central government. Functions of the Agency include,
  • Planning, implementing, and monitoring anti-doping activities,
  • Investigating anti-doping rule violations,
  • Promoting anti-doping research. 

National Board for Anti-Doping in Sports:

  • The Bill establishes a National Board for Anti-Doping in Sports to make recommendations to the government on anti-doping regulation and compliance with international commitments on anti-doping.
  • The Board will oversee the activities of the Agency and issue directions to it.
  • The existing National Dope Testing Laboratory will be deemed to be the principal dope testing laboratory.
  • The central government may establish more National Dope Testing Laboratories.

Significance of the Bill

  • The bill attempts to achieve, time-bound justice to athletes, apart from enhancing cooperation among agencies in fighting doping.
  • It is also an attempt to reinforce India’s commitment to fulfil international obligations for clean sports.
  • The bill would help in establishing a robust, independent mechanism for anti-doping adjudication.
  • The bill also would lend legal sanctity to the functioning of NADA and National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).

Issues with the Bill

  • The qualifications of the Director General are not specified in the Bill and are left to be notified through Rules.
  • The central government may remove the Director General from the office on grounds of misbehavior or incapacity or “such other ground”.
  • Leaving these provisions to the discretion of the central government may affect the independence of the Director General.
  • This also goes against the mandate of the World Anti-Doping Agency that such bodies must be independent in their operations.
  • Under the Bill, the Board has powers to remove the members of the Disciplinary Panel and Appeal Panel on grounds which will be specified by regulations and are not specified in the Bill.
  • Further, there is no requirement to give them an opportunity of being heard. This may affect the independent functioning of these panels.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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