The National Anti-Doping Bill seeks to provide statutory framework for the National Anti-Doping Agency and National Dope Testing Laboratory.
The Parliament on Wednesday passed the National Anti-Doping Bill, which seeks to provide a statutory framework for the functioning of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).
What is the National Anti-Doping Bill, 2022?
The National Anti-Doping Bill, 2022, seeks to give legislative backing to anti-doping norms in the country and provide a statutory framework for operations of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur explained in the Lok Sabha that the Bill seeks to increase the testing capacity of the agencies as well. Currently, India can do only about 6,000 tests in a year, and the Bill would help in increasing the number to 10,000 a month. He also said that with this, India will join the club select countries like the US, China, Japan, and France, which have their own laws directed towards checking doping in sports.
The Bill was first introduced by Thakur in the Lok Sabha in December 2021. It was then referred to a standing committee over certain concerns. It was cleared by the Lok Sabha last week after making certain amendments and on Wednesday it was passed by a voice vote at the Rajya Sabha after four hours of debate.
What is the purpose of the Bill?
The Bill is aimed towards facilitating the operation of the National Anti-Doping Agency, the National Dope Testing Laboratory, and other allied bodies.
As per the sports ministry, the Bill will allow the NADA to conduct raids to check doping and catch the offenders.
As mentioned in the Bill, the NADA will have the power of “levying sanctions for anti-doping rule violations, the disciplinary procedures to be adopted and the powers of inspection, sample collection and sharing and free flow of information,” reported First Post.
Currently, the NADA doesn’t have the power to conduct raids under suspicion or with proof of sportspersons indulging in doping activities at any premises, including national camps.
The Bill proposes to establish the National Board for Anti-Doping in Sports, which will make recommendations to the government on anti-doping regulations and oversee the activities of NADA and issue directions to it.
What will the Bill enable?
With the passage of the Bill, the NADA will be able to carry out raids where it has reasons to believe that an athlete or athlete support personnel has committed an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.
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In accordance with the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the NADA can:
(a) Enter and search any premise for the purpose of inspecting, examining, and determining if an anti-doping violation has been committed or is being committed.
(b) Seize any equipment, device, substance, record, register, document, or other material object, that the officer believes may furnish evidence of anti-doping rule violation. The NADA can even seize material or property where it is necessary to prevent or mitigate any anti-doping rule violation.
(c) The NADA can also get an athlete to submit samples for testing.
If an athlete or athlete support personnel is found to be violating the rules, a notice will be issued by the agency to the athlete for a hearing. If the athlete does not waive their right of hearing, the agency shall refer such matter to the Disciplinary Panel.
The Disciplinary Panel will then hear and determine all issues arising from any matter which is referred to it and determine the consequences of Anti-Doping Rule Violations.
All parties shall have a right to be represented, and to have an interpreter, at their own cost.
With the passage of the Bill, any violation of anti-doping policies will result in disqualification of a sportsperson’s results, including forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes. It will also cause ineligibility to participate in a competition or event for a prescribed period of time, and financial sanctions may also be issued.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST