B K Upmanyu reports: The Union Government has constituted Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel, Anti Doping Appeal Panel and Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee under the Anti Doping Rules to check incidents of doping and create a clean and healthy environment for sports in the country. These Rules had been notified by the Government earlier and will come into force from tomorrow .
The nine member Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel will be headed by Dinesh Dayal Retired Addl. District Judge , Delhi and eight eminent persons of the legal, medical and sports profession. This Panel will hear the athletes who have been tested positive for dope and after a fair hearing award them with the punishment as prescribed under the Anti Doping Rules.
The four member Anti Doping Appeal Panel will be headed by a C.K. Mahajan , Retired High Court Judge and will composed of eminent persons of sports and medical profession. This Panel will hear the appeals by sports persons who have been awarded punishments by the Anti Doping Disciplinary Panel.
The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee (TUEC) will consist of three eminent and highly qualified medical practitioners who have expertise in the field of General Medicine, Pharmacology and Chest Diseases. The main function of TUEC would be to consider applications of athletes who are seeking therapeutic use exemption on the grounds of medical condition requiring use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
Members of the above Panels/Committees have been very carefully selected so that they are totally independent in their assessment and adjudication. The Committees are strong in technical personnel mainly legal, medical and sports. No bureaucratic representation has been made on these Committees.
After intensive preparation and strengthening and rigorous monitoring by World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) at Delhi was awarded the WADA Accreditation. The Laboratory is now fully accredited to conduct tests of dope samples of athletes which will be acceptable to all anti doping authorities world-wide. A new and modern premises for the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is now at final stages of construction in which the NDTL will shift with all modern amenities and latest state-of-art equipment so that NDTL can take up latest tests which have been prescribed by WADA. Further upgradation and modernization of the NDTL is in process and the latest equipment will be procured in due course. The technical strength of the Laboratory is also being enhanced to cope with the large number of samples that the Laboratory will now have to process. The technical skills of the existing staff of the Laboratory are also being upgraded through training and exposure at other advanced Laboratories in the world.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is committed to take all measures in conjunction with sports bodies and other stakeholders to rid sports of the menace of
doping and create a clean and healthy environment for sports in India. The National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) which has been created as an autonomous body by the Ministry will stride to discourage and prevent Indian athletes and sports persons from using illegal and artificial performance enhancing drugs and to promote healthy lifestyle among athletes. The anti doping agenda is the top priority item with the Government of India.
At the recently held meeting of Sports Ministers during the Beijing Olympic Games also, the anti doping programmes of the various countries were discussed. Dr. M.S. Gill, Minister of Sports reiterated India’s full commitment to the anti doping programme and declared that all possible measures will be taken to rid sports of this menace and that India would play a lead role in combating the use of dope and unethical means in sports. Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee in his opening remarks at the Beijing Olympic Games had also highlighted and stressed the need for all sporting nations to take positive and effective action to curb the menace of doping in sports.
Government of India has already set up the NADA which will be the frontal organization to deal with all matters relating to doping in sports including dissemination of information, wide publicity, orientation and training of sports persons, athletes and coaches, testing of athletes both in-competition and out of competition, disciplinary proceedings against erring athletes etc. The Governing Body of the NADA has been constituted of eminent persons of impeccable reputation who will guide the working of NADA. The NADA has also notified the Anti Doping Rules which are fully compliant with the WADA Code. These have been finalized after wide consultation with all stakeholders including Indian Olympic Association (IOA), National Sports Federations (NSFs) and other bodies related to sports in India. These Rules were circulated by NADA to IOA and NSFs on 21.7.2008 seeking their comments/concurrence by 31st August, 2008. This was followed by reminders and thereafter Notices were issued in the major Dailies notifying the NSFs that their comments should be submitted by 5.9.2008 failing which it would be presumed that they have no comments to offer and they concur with the Anti Doping Rules of NADA. Thereafter taking into consideration the comments received from the IOA and various NSFs the Anti Doping Rules have been finalized and notified by the Government.
The Ministry is of the clear view that the NDTL has not only to be strengthened technically but ensured that its functioning is totally autonomous and independent and no extraneous considerations come in the way of its fair and free functioning.