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BCCI Ethics Officer Firm on ‘One Man, One Post’ for VVS Laxman

Devadyuti Das |July 6, 2019, 2:02 PM IST
BCCI Ethics Officer Firm on ‘One Man, One Post’ for VVS Laxman

BCCI Ethics Officer Justice DK Jain is adamant in his stance that former India cricketer VVS Laxman can continue in only one of his current three roles to meet with the requirements of the new BCCI constitution that clearly mandates ‘one person, one post’ for any person working with the board. Laxman is currently a member of the BCCI’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), a mentor with the IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad as well as a TV commentator.

Jain is not prepared to change his mind over the matter despite the BCCI and the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators’ (CoA) best efforts, that included asking amicus curiae PS Narasimha to convince the Ethics Officer to reconsider the matter.

In his order passed on June 20th, a copy of which is available with CricketNext, Jain makes it clear that Laxman will have to choose. Point 26 of the order states:

“In the instant case, having regard to the afore noted stand of Mr Laxman, that if it is found by the Ethics Officer that his presence in the CAC has resulted in a ‘conflict of interest’ situation, as envisaged in Rule 38 of the Rules, he may be provided an opportunity to resolve the same. I declare that in the present case the ‘conflict of interest’ is tractable (easy to deal with).

“Further, notwithstanding the fact that Mr Laxman was obliged to otherwise disclose the requisite information as stipulated in Rule 38 (2) of the Rules, but bearing in mind the fact that the Rules have come into existence only after August 2018, I am inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to Mr Laxman that perhaps he may not have realized that his occupying the aforesaid multiple posts did involve ‘conflict of interest’.

“Accordingly, I direct the BCCI to ensure that Mr VVS Laxman relinquishes his interest, which give rise to ‘conflict of interest’ and does not continue to occupy more than one post as enumerated in Rule 38 (4) of the Rules at any given point of time, within two weeks of receipt of this order.”

In the CoA’s meeting in Delhi last week, they had said that the BCCI legal team were studying Jain’s order and exploring how they will go about implementing it. The BCCI, on their part, in their declaration to the Ethics Officer has said that ‘conflict of interest’ pertaining to Laxman could be resolved by ‘recusing’ himself from any discussions or directions with the CAC where any individual being considered for selection is or has been associated with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

While the board felt that the matter dealing with his conflict as a TV commentator could be resolved in a ‘fair and transparent’ manner if Laxman maintained strict ‘confidentiality’ with regards to the matters that have come to his knowledge in his capacity of being the member of the CAC and/or matters discussed in CAC meetings.

However, the argument has cut no ice with Jain. Point 22 of his order stated:

“A conjoint readings of the provisions as also the Rules of the BCCI leads to an irresistible conclusion that one of the basic ideas behind the introduction of Rules, especially the definition of ‘conflict of interest’ in Rule 1(A)(g) and the provisions of the Rule 38 of the Rules was to implement the principle of ‘one man, one post’ in the larger interest of the game of the cricket. Evidently, it is aimed at avoiding concentration of power in few hands and also for ensuring larger participation of the persons having vast knowledge and experience in the game of cricket.”

The ‘conflict of interest’ case against Laxman was filed by Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) life member Sanjeev Gupta.

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