The previously in-charge office bearers of Maharashtra State Basketball Association (MSBA) have suffered a legal setback in their attempt to regain control of basketball affairs in the State.
By an order dated 18th January 2021, the Joint Charity Commissioner, Greater Mumbai set aside an earlier order of the Assistant Charity Commissioner which had approved MSBA’s application to register itself under the Maharashtra Public Trusts Act, 1950 and change its name from “Bombay State Basketball Association” to “Maharashtra State Basketball Association”.
From BSBA to MSBA
It is important to recall that in 2019, the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) had suspended the affiliation of MSBA because it was brought to its attention that MSBA continued to remain registered as “Bombay State Basketball Association” and had failed to produce a charity registration certificate.
Thereafter, Maharashtra Basketball affairs were taken over by a BFI appointed Ad-Hoc Committee.
The Joint Charity Commissioner (JCC) said, is his order, that the Assistant Commissioner had not followed proper legal procedure and had not given a fair opportunity to hear all the affected parties.
The JCC has remanded the matter back to the Assitant Commissioner, Greater Mumbai for a fresh hearing and inquiry to be conducted within three months from 1st February 2021.
So, for the time being, it appears that BFI’s Ad-Hoc Committee will remain in administrative charge of Maharashtra Basketball.
Why this matters to basketball fans?
There are currently four States whose affiliations to BFI remain suspended. Besides Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Assam are also reported to be currently administered directly by the National Federation.
India has a ‘federal’ structure, which means that powers have to be devolved to its individual States, which have to be responsible for their own functioning. Suspension of State Basketball Associations, therefore, hands administrative powers of these regions to a central agency, in this case, the BFI. BFI Ad-Hoc Committees that are then directly appointed (rather than elected), wield enormous powers over how basketball affairs are conducted in the States, including the always thorny issue of State team selections to the National Championships.
The best-case scenario for Indian basketball would therefore be for each State/District to have strong Associations that remain compliant with all laws and regulations. This will, in turn, ensure that the administration of basketball remains healthy from the grassroots to the top.
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