by Elton Gomes
On Thursday, the Supreme Court finalised a new charter for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and rejected the ‘one State one vote’ recommendation of the Justice R.M. Lodha Commitee. The apex court also modified cooling-off period for cricket managers.
A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, disagreed with Justice Lodha that cricket can only flourish if the BCCI was represented by every state and union territory in the country. Justice Lodha had relegated cricket associations to the status of associate members.
The apex court restored full BCCI memberships to three cricketing associations each in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Vidarbha cricket associations and the Gujarat, Baroda, and Saurashtra cricket associations were the cricket associations to receive full BCCI membership.
“To utilise territoriality as a basis of exclusion is problematic because it ignores history and the contributions made by such associations to the development of cricket and its popularity,” said Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who wrote the judgment, as reported by the Hindu.
The bench also asked the Registrar General of Tamil Nadu Societies to officially adopt the newly approved BCCI constitution within four weeks. Additionally, the SC directed state cricket associations to adopt the BCCI constitution within 30 days, and it also warned them that failure to do so would invite action, as per a Business Standard report.
What were the recommendations by the Lodha panel?
The Lodha panel suggested that one association of each state should be a full-time member and should have the right to vote in the BCCI. The panel also proposed that the Railways, Services, and Universities should be relegated to being only associate members. It further recommended that the two cricket governing bodies – Indian Premier League (IPL) and the BCCI – be separated, and it also intended to suppress the power of the IPL’s governing council.
Furthermore, the panel stated that office bearers of the BCCI should not be ministers or government servants and that they should not hold office in the BCCI for a period of nine years or three terms. It said that no office bearer in the BCCI can remain for more than two consecutive terms. Moreover, office bearers should not be more than 70 years old. The panel also suggested that betting be legalised, but it should have an inbuilt mechanism.
The panel also suggested that the BCCI come under the RTI act. It recommended that players and BCCI officials should disclose their assets to the board in a step to ensure that they are not involved in betting.
What does the current ruling mean?
Some of the courts’s suggestions can be said to be undermining the Lodha panel’s recommendations. However, the court has not debunked clauses related to disqualification of persons from being an office bearer or a member of the governing council, or as a representative to the International Cricket Council.
This means that individuals above the age of 70, ministers, government servants, and others holding public office are disqualified from occupying any post in the BCCI or any of its state associations.
Additionally, disqualified persons will include those who have served terms as an office bearer in the BCCI for a cumulative period of nine years. The court maintained that such requirements serve as important safeguards against the development of personal interests and against concentration of power. The court opined that the requirements encourage a “dispersal of authority,” and the creation of a “wider body of experienced administrators.”
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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