Paralympic Committee of India’s Code of Conduct consists of “unethical clauses”

Published 23 October 2014 By: Manali Kulkarni

Paralympic Committee of India Logo

As of October 17, 2014, Indian paralympic athletes voiced that they were required to sign a new Code of Conduct (the Code) issued by the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI)1 that consisted of “unethical clauses”.2 In that, the Code of Conduct allows for searching the athletes’ belongings, and introduced HIV testing requirements.3

87 athletes report that they signed the Code because they were told that they would be excluded from the ongoing Asian Para Games (October 18- 24, 2014) in Incheon otherwise. The athletes also explained that if they did not agree to the HIV testing, they would face a loss of accreditation and future exclusion.4

The paralympians who have argued against the clauses in the Code have chosen to remain anonymous, as the Code reportedly states that any athletes who reports to the media may face a life ban.5

The PCI explained that this confidentiality requirement not included as a way to limit freedom.6 The PCI officials have additionally argued that this Code was meant to address the indiscipline seen in the Indian athletes in the past, as random searches would arguable allow the PCI officials to act against doping and related offences.7

The PCI later stated that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC)8  had endorsed the PCI’s Code. The IPC later denied this endorsements on the grounds that the PCI’s new Code’s principles and expectations fall outside the regulations set out in the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code9 and the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC)10.11

After consulting with the IPC anti-doping and medical committees, Craig Spence, Director of Media and Communications at the IPC, confirmed that the PCI new Code of Conduct clauses were not structured after those in the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code, which values the privacy of athletes.12

An official from a National Anti-Doping Agency further described the PCI’s anti-doping regulation in the newly introduced Code of Conduct as being, “'crude way' of dealing with dope cheats…,” and further explaining the PCI Code of Conduct’s anti-doping clause does not reflect the WADC principles and search clauses.13

The above mentioned principles on respecting the athletes’ privacy are also supported by Article 8.4 of the IPC’s Code of Ethics in the  IPC Handbook14 on the requirements for respecting the athletes’ privacy and confidentiality, states:

Classifiers and officials must respect athletes and coaches and be sure that there is a courteous attitude during the classification process and during doping control tests. They must maintain confidentiality of athlete information and respect the dignity of the athletes.15

It should be noted that Article 2.1.116 of the IPC Handbook, requires that all codes or regulations created by IPC members, which include National Paralympic Committees (NPCs),17 align with all IPC principles, exceptions, and regulations, as well as the WADC.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports18were made aware of this matter through a news article, and have asked the PCI to submit a report on this matter within a week.19

 

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Author

Manali Kulkarni

Manali Kulkarni

Manali is the COO at LawInSport and executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University).

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