Doping Laws in India


Author: Tanvi Menon, Auro University.


“India is a signatory to the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping and the UNESCO International Convention against Doping.

The Anti-Doping Rules place a strict responsibility for athletes to be aware of what substances enter their body. However, in India, most athletes are not educated to the same level as in foreign countries and lack adequate access to resources which would enable them to identify the ingredients of what they consume. When athletes attend and reside at training camps for several months in a year, the camps are responsible for their food and supplements and the athletes cannot be expected to monitor or refuse the food being provided to them in these camps or by their coaches.” [1]


Case study

In a recent case, six Indian athletes who were gold medallists in the Commonwealth Games were tested positive for the presence of anabolic steroids in their urine samples taken both in and out of the competition.

“The case became a battle between the athletes and the NADA and the National Dope Testing Laboratory in New Delhi (“NDTL“) was given a special sanction to test all the supplements consumed by the athletes. The NDTL confirmed that Ginseng pills consumed by the athletes contained prohibited substances. It was not disputed that their coach provided these pills to them. It was the responsibility of the Sports Authority of India to provide for all supplements but since this was not done in spite of repeated requests, the coach purchased bottles of these supplements.”[2]

“The Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (“ADDP“) held that the athletes bore “no significant fault or negligence” and issued a reprimand and suspension for a period of one year from the date of the positive test.”[3]

The NADA and the WADA filed an appeal against the first instance decision of the ADDP and the athletes also filed cross-appeals against the first instance decision of the ADDP praying for a complete reprieve. In the appeal, the ADDP upheld its first instance decision.

From that point, the International Athletes Federation (the “IAF”), the WADA and the NADA recorded a second intrigue against the choice of the ADAP under the watchful eye of the Court of Arbitration for Sports, Lausanne (the “CAS”). The CAS, under the Anti-Doping Rules of the IAF and the WADC, read with the NADA Anti-Doping Rules, held that the competitors were to blame and issued the full assent of two years’ ineligibility for four of the competitors.

At the end of the proceedings, it is the athletes who ended up losing out the most. A two-year ban for an athlete takes away a huge chunk of their career.

Since the majority of Indian sportspersons come from a rural background, with no formal education, the awareness level regarding performance-enhancing drugs is next to nothing. Again the primary reason for taking up sports in India is personal than professional. One has to understand the unique incentive that taking up sports in India has. There are Government jobs on offer against sports quotas and with a billion plus population and limited job opportunities, the competition to do as the coach or another official instructs is great. The lack of awareness of the dos and don’t of the WADA code thus runs through all the levels of sport and results in a high number of Indian sportspersons being easily caught.

The absence of forceful mindfulness program at the grass root level includes the issue. With the lawful time of assent not being accomplished the youthful games, people are helpless before the educated choice of their folks. Anyway, in a nation where occupation and not brilliance is the motivator, most guardians are not made mindful of what their wards expend. At long last when the sportspersons are gotten there is no supported national discussion by people in general. This is because of the way that with the exception of cricket, India isn’t a games superpower. As needs are the goings on in different games truly does not energize people in general creative energy. The absence of supported open discussion likewise implies there is a no weight set on the game’s executives to structure a compelling enemy of doping arrangement.

“It has been more than 11 years since the UNESCO brought forward the International Convention against Doping in Sport. It has been nine-and-a-half years since India ratified that convention and it has been four years since a draft National Sports Development Bill mentioned the convention and the elimination of doping practices right at the beginning of that document:

“And whereas the International Convention adopted on the nineteenth day of October 2005 at Paris provides for action against doping in sports and India ratified the said Convention on the tenth day of September 2007;

And whereas the aforesaid convention provides that public authorities and the organizations responsible for sports have complementary responsibilities to prevent and combat doping in sport, notably to ensure the proper conduct, on the basis of the principle of fair play in sports events and to protect the health of those who take part in them;

And whereas it is considered necessary to give effect to the said resolution and to the aforesaid Convention;

Be it enacted by the Parliament in the Sixty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows.”[4]



“The expertise required in developing and executing an effective anti-doping policy in India may take a while to come into existence. Nonetheless, things cannot be left untouched on the grounds of inexperience. It is therefore suggested that the coach/officials nexus in aiding and abetting doping within sports in India be strongly dealt with by conducting an independent inquiry. Secondly, mandatory testing at all levels of sport should be introduced. While understandably resource crunch may be an issue for NADA. Hence the testing should be introduced in all professional sports, at all levels.”[5]

“The expertise developed in testing within the professional sports can later be transplanted to amateur sports. Thirdly aggressive educational program on performance-enhancing drugs needs to be introduced at all levels. Fourthly the NADA should be made a complete non-governmental body to ensure impartial detection and sanctioning of all involved. Finally, the sportspersons need to be trained in a manner that they are confident of performing at the highest level without the use of any banned substance. This would essentially mean investing in better training methods and techniques. Appointing proficient coaches, who can guide the athletes and not dupe them into taking a banned substance.” [6]






[4] As Reported by The Wire,,.