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Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati has provided legal support to the BCCI’s stand regarding the “whereabouts” clause in World Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-doping Code.
The clause in question requires players to inform the ICC of their whereabouts at all times and make themselves available for out-of-competition testing. The Attorney General, in an opinion submitted to BCCI President Shashank Manohar, stated that the “whereabouts” clause of the Code is infringing on the players’ privacy and can be subject to a constitutional challenge since the right to privacy has been read by the courts into Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The BCCI had earlier requested former Chief Justice A S. Anand and Mr. Vahanvathi to opine on the controversial clause. The BCCI has so far opposed the code, on the grounds that the clause is unnecessary, intrusive and in violation of the right to privacy. So far, eleven cricketers have opposed Clause 14 and have bypassed the August 1 deadline to provide information regarding their whereabouts to the ICC.
The Indian National Anti-doping Agency is a signatory to the Code, as is the Indian Olympics Committee. The BCCI was seeking advice on the legal implications and international repercussions of its refusal to become a signatory to the Code.
David Becker and Iain Higgins, the ICC’s legal experts, are advising on the ramifications of the Code. Iain Higgins was in Mumbai early last month to address the BCCI’s concerns regarding the Code. Iain Higgins was formerly an associate with Bird & Bird’s sports practice and has since joined the ICC as its Company Lawyer. Pending resolution, ICC has announced that it will convene a working group on the 5th and 6th of September to discuss BCCI’s objections. The Attorney General’s opinion has strengthened the BCCI’s call for a special Code for cricketers.