Few years ago, two teams of IPL were suspended for their involvement in cricket fraud incidents. Along with the players and team owners were also found guilty of betting or match fixing incidents. About 20 years back, many Indian players were banned for indulging in such incidents.
There was a lot of discussion and debate on such issues at every major forum. The case reached the Law Commission, wherein they also have an opinion that such cases should be in the category of criminal offences and there will be a provision of severe punishment for this offence. Even such matters were taken up in Parliament. The question is why the law has not been enacted on all this till now, why we rely on dis-honesty and fraud sections of IPL and investigating agencies.
This is the situation when BCCI officials have been in power in the past so many years. Its quite strange that match fixing has not been defined in any law. The only place where one can look into the definition of match fixing comes from CBI report on match fixing allegations.
Pakistan fourth nation!
It is also to be noted here that among the test playing countries today Pakistan is going to become the fourth country after Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka where match fixing or spot fixing can be brought under the category of criminal offence.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also the patron in chief of PCB has approved the PCB`s plan to revise its anti-corruption code and make match fixing a criminal offence. Pakistan cricket is full of names like Saleem Malik, Danish Kaneria, Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Amir, Sharjeel Khan, Nasir Jamshed and Umar Akmal. After clearance, this proposal from all the Ministries of Pakistan, will be laid on the table of Parliament of Pakistan.
Match fixing and IPC
Actually match fixing is cheating the public, the government and millions of crickets fans. According to section 415 of IPC whoever, by deceiving any person, fraudulently or dishonestly induces the person so deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to consent that any person shall retain any property, or internationally induces the person so deceived to do or omit if he were not so deceived and which act or omission causes or is likely to cause damage or harm to that person in body, mind, reputation or property, is said to cheat.
Word `Dishonestly` given in section 24 of IPC which reads as – Whoever does anything with the intention of causing wrongful gain to one person, or wrong-full loss to another person is said to do that thing dis-honestly.`
Learn from 3 countries
The question arises whether sections 415 and 24 are sufficient for this. When Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka can take tough steps in this regard and make separate laws, then why can`t India do this. There have been very few cases in Australia as compared to India, while the number of such cases in NZ is even less, but these countries have succeeded in doing all that India could not do till date. Australia included the issue of match fixing in its national policy nine years ago. The very next year, New South Wales and then South Australia implemented the law made on it and in other states concrete steps were taken in this direction and a provision of 10 years punishment for the match fixing convict. The very next year, the Parliament of NZ also passed a bill to legislated for it. A provision of seven years imprisonment was made for this.
Initiative of Arjun Ranatunga
The sports bill was passed in the Parliament of Sri Lanka in November last year, which provided a ten-year sentence for match-fixing. The 1996 World Cup winning team captain and Cabinet Minister Arjun Ranatunga strongly supported Sports Minister Harin Fernando on this issue.
Two prominent players guilty
1996 World cup hero Sanath Jayasuriya was accused of not cooperation with the investigating committee and tampering with the evidence for which he faced two years ban. Dilhara Lokuhettige was also banned after being found guilty of corruption in the T-10 league in 2017.
It is to be hoped that we should follow Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka on this issue and there will be an act for such corrupt practices in India also Even, we should learn lessons from Pakistan`s efforts in this direction.