India has suddenly woken up to the fact of deficient laws to deal with spot fixing/match fixing in the wake of recent IPL events of fraud. Presently the offence is booked under Sections 409 of the Indian Penal Code. Advocate Kaleeshwaram Raj has written in Malayala Manorama Daily (vernacular) about the possibility of using Section 415, 418 and 120 of IPC as well and suggested these to be more appropriate than Section 409. He has also pointed out the mention in Delhi Police Act Section 108 about 'cheating at games' as an offence under section 415 of IPC.
Mapping of laws world over on sports fraud like match fixing points to two major kinds of approaches.
- Certain Jurisdictions treat this as a general offence and bring it under fraud and cheating
- Others treat this as specific offence of sports fraud and prescribes punishments for it
India belong to the frrst category. Within European Union itself, jurisdictions differ in dealing with sports fraud. Majority of nations in EU have addressed sports fraud within the band of corruption, especially private corruption. ( See here for details on European Law on sports fraud). Australia has come out with a policy on Match-fixing in sports. It has proposed a law in March this year with a punishment up to 10 years imprisonment for the offence.
Kapil Sibal has vouched for introduction of law in the Monsoon Session of the parliament. It would be beneficial if the government starts with a policy statement on sports fraud, define the jurisprudence and approach and then turn the same into law than knee jerk reactions of legislation which may prove deficient the very next day.