Pakistan Cricket Board is a public body, answerable and accountable under the Right to information Act: Pakistan Information Commission
LAHORE: Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) has declared that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) a public body, answerable and accountable under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017.
The Commission has directed chairman PCB to implement the decision and directed him to provide the appellant the certified copies of contracts signed by PCB the lawyers and law firms from January 01, 2015 to date forthwith but in any case not later than ten days of the receipt of this order.
The Commission further directed chairman PCB to implement sections 9 and update the official website as mandated in section 5 of the Act, in letter and spirit under intimation to this Commission within one month of the receipt of this order.
According to documents, available with Bol News, the PIC passed this order on the complaint of a citizen Raza Ali.
Raza Ali had filed an application with PCB using the Right to Information Act to seek details of those lawyers/law firms which had contested its cases at legal forums from 1991 to 1999. The PCB didn’t respond to the request within a given time and afterwards, the applicant approached PIC to seek the information from the PCB.
The PCB’s counsel contended before the PIC that as the PCB generates its revenues solely from its own resources and avails no public funds or grants, that’s why the requested information is exempted from disclosure under Section 16 (d) and (g) clause 1 of the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017 as it would tantamount to breach of confidence. Therefore, the PCB claimed that the contracts with lawyers cannot be disclosed.
However, the PCB shared a list of panels of lawyers and law firms engaged by the Pakistan Cricket Board from 01-01-15 till date.
The appellant disputed the points raised by the organization and claimed that PCB is a government organization and liable to provide the contracts signed by PCB with the lawyers / firms.
The appellant contended that the PCB was established under the Sports (Development and Control) ordinance 1962. The section 2 of the above mentioned Act (ix) and (d) states “any statutory corporation or other body corporate institution set up or established or owned or controlled or funded by the Federal Government”.
The appellant further contended that the PCB ever received any funds & grants from the government or not? Similarly, the appellant asked that the offices being used by the PCB is government property or PCB owned/rental property? “Are the playgrounds used for cricket by the PCB owned/rented by the PCB from the government?”
The PCB responded to the queries raised by the appellant.
“PCB is a unique entity entirely different from other autonomous/semi autonomous bodies, corporations and commissions in that it receives no funds/monies whatsoever from the Federal Government/the Consolidated Funds the Public Exchequer rather generates its own revenues from the sale of its commercial and media rights and other ventures.”
PCB is the only sports organization which has been made amenable to Income Tax Laws of Pakistan. PCB annually pays millions of Rupees as tax to the Public Exchequer. Similarly, the PCB has instilled its own robust financial management system and undergoes external and internal audits which are conducted by the internationally acclaimed firms of Chartered Accounts.
“In light of the above, it is submitted that payment of the professional legal fees paid to lawyers on PCB’s panel of advocates are not made from the Public Fund but from PCB’s own income, therefore protected under Qanun e-Shahadat Order, 1984.”
During the course of arguments, learned counsel has argued on the similar lines and produced a copy of the deed dated 06.12.1980 signed between President, Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan and the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the lease of 104.5 acres of land for the annual rent of Rs. 12,6445 for land situated in KDA scheme No.24, Karachi for the period of 99 years.
Source: BOL news