Polity & Governance
5th Aug, 2022
The National Anti-Doping Bill 2021, which aims to establish a statutory framework for the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), was recently approved by the Lok Sabha.
About National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA):
- With a mission for drug-free sports in India, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was established as a registered corporation under the Companies Registration Act, 1860, on November 24, 2005.
- It implements anti-doping regulations in accordance with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) code, overseeing the doping control program, supporting education and research, and raising awareness of doping and its negative impacts are the main objectives.
- It looks into the planning, coordinating, implementing, monitoring, and enforcing advances in doping control, cooperating with other pertinent national organizations, agencies, and other anti-doping organizations, etc. are all tasks that fall within the purview of NADA.
What are the key features of the Bill?
- Prohibition of Doping in the sports:
- According to the proposed law, doping is prohibited in sports. It applies to athletes, athlete support staff members, and other individuals engaging in the sport.
- Outcomes of a violation:
- Anti-doping regulations violations may lead to disqualification of the results, the confiscation of medals, points, and awards, disqualification from future competitions or events for a set amount of time, financial penalties, etc.
- Statutory status for the National Anti-Doping Agency:
- The bill envisages the establishment of this National Anti-Doping Agency as a statutory body.
- It will be headed by a director general appointed by the central government. The functions of the agency include, for example,
- Planning, implementation, and monitoring of anti-doping activities,
- Investigation of anti-doping rule violations,
- Support of 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.
- Data related to athletes and doping:
- The Agency will also have the power to collect certain personal data of athletes such as:
- sex or gender,
- medical history, and
- Where about information of athletes (for out-of-competition testing and collection of samples).
- The Agency will prescribe the procedure for collection, usage, processing, and disclosure of such personal data.
- It will publicly disclose certain information such as the name of the athlete, the anti-doping rule violated, and the consequences imposed.
- Disciplinary and Appeal Panels:
- The Board will constitute a National Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel for determining the consequences of anti-doping rule violations.
- This Panel will consist of a chairperson and four Vice-Chairpersons (all legal experts), and ten members (medical practitioners and retired eminent athletes).
The Appeal Panel will consist of:
- A Chairperson (a retired High Court judge),
- A Vice-Chairperson (a legal expert), and
- Four members (medical practitioners and retired eminent athletes).
- Appeals against the decision of the Appeal Panel will lie with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (an international body with headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, that settles sport-related disputes).
Dope Testing Laboratories:
- The National Dope Testing Laboratory will be deemed to be the principal dope testing laboratory.
- The central government may establish additional national drug testing facilities across the country.
Significance of the bill
- The law aims at promoting inter-agency collaboration in the fight against doping and achieving time-bound justice for sports persons.
- It is a step forward in the direction of fulfilling India’s commitment to international clean sports
- The law would contribute to building a powerful, impartial system for determining anti-doping decisions.
- The legislation will also confer legal sanctity to NADA and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in their operations.
What are the major concerns related to the bill?
- Qualifications of the Director General are not specified: The Bill makes no mention of the CEO's credentials; instead, it leaves this up to notification via rules.
- Discretionary provision related to the removal of Director General: The Director General may be removed from office by the central government for bad behavior, incompetence, or "for any other cause."
- The independence of the CEO may be impacted if these requirements are left up to the central government's judgment.
- Additionally, this goes against the World Anti-Doping Agency's directive that these organizations engage in their operations independently.
- The Board has powers to remove the members of the Disciplinary Panel and Appeal Panel on grounds that will be specified by regulations and are not specified in the Bill.
- Furthermore, it is not necessary to give them a chance to be heard. This could interfere with these panels' ability to operate independently.