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BCCI Members Reminded of CoA Chief's ‘Authoritarian Ways’ Ahead of SC Hearing

Devadyuti Das |January 8, 2019, 3:02 PM IST
BCCI Members Reminded of CoA Chief's ‘Authoritarian Ways’ Ahead of SC Hearing

New Delhi: The ongoing tussle between the office bearers of the BCCI and the Committee of Administrators (CoA) will reach another flashpoint when the Supreme Court takes up a plea filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar on the functioning of the CoA on January 17. Ahead of the hearing, BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary has sought to unify the state associations for the showdown by dashing off a mail to them about alleged violations made by the CoA, and its chairman Vinod Rai in particular, over the last one year.

“The Hon’ble Supreme Court had appointed a four-member Committee of Administrators in its January 2 and 30, 2017 orders for a) implementation of the Supreme Court judgment dated July 18, 2016 and b) supervision of administration of BCCI,” the mail by Choudhary, a copy of which has been accessed by CricketNext, reads.

“The same orders had also directed that the senior most Vice President and Joint Secretary would discharge the duties and functions of the President and Secretary respectively. However, despite orders of the highest court, the Chairman, CoA prevented the Office-bearers from functioning, employing unheard of reasoning.

“One expected that at least after receiving such unequivocal snub of the convoluted arguments from the Hon’ble Apex Court, the CoA headed by an ex-member from the IAS of Nagaland Cadre would allow normal and proper functioning of the Board. Unfortunately, the truth is far from it. The overriding trait, particularly recently, in the functioning of the Chairman has been to hustle through decisions without permitting proper and democratic discussions in the garb of necessity and paucity of time. As a result, one man’s decisions, no matter how illegal be the process are being executed by the CEO and others constituting the so called ‘professional management.”

In the 17-page mail, the BCCI secretary raises issues such as the clean-chit given to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri in the sexual harassment case, the leaks of former India women captain Mithali Raj’s mail in the aftermath of the decision to leave her out of the playing XI for the World T20 semi-final, the appointment of an ad-hoc committee to select the next Indian women’s team coach — which turned out to be WV Raman — as well as Raman’s appointment itself.

Choudhary insisted that decisions are being arbitrarily taken by CoA chairman Rai, often overriding objections from his only remaining colleague, Diana Edulji.

“As is now evident to all across the board, CoA Chairman’s authoritarian ways are no longer confined vis-a-vis the office bearers but has even reduced the CoA to one person, himself. Recent acts of overruling the other member of the CoA, without being invested with any veto power, are well known,” the mail added.

The mail lists out a dozen cases in which the CoA have over-stepped their mandate and gone against the new BCCI constitution.

“Though there have been umpteen examples of acts committed in violation of the Constitution, conventions and processes I am listing only a dozen examples for your perusal. In view of the all-important Hon’ble Supreme Court hearing on January 17, it was my duty to bring to your notice these acts in order that member associations are apprised of the processes which have defined the BCCI lately. Associations may thereafter chose to approach the Hon’ble Court,” the mail stated.

One of the issues raised was CoA’s refusal to approve legal representation to BCCI office-bearers including its secretary.

“Rule 44 of the new registered Constitution of the BCCI which has the approval and mandate of the Hon’ble Supreme Court provides in clear terms that the BCCI shall sue and be sued in the name of the Secretary. As such the direction of the CoA to the effect that the CEO alone shall continue to sign all pleadings, affidavits etc., in the legal proceedings filed by or against the BCCI is an obvious and manifest violation of the said rule.

“So far, as the embargo on the legal advisors/consultant of the BCCI in taking instructions from the Office Bearers and the decision to terminate the engagement of legal advisors instructing the Office Bearers is concerned the same is a gross violation of the fundamental rights of the Office Bearers in view of the well-settled law that if a person is deprived of being represented, when he is entitled to do so in a lawful manner, the same directly interferes in the dispensation of justice and amounts to obstruction of access to justice and interference with the administration of justice.

“In view of the clear provision of Rules and Regulations of the BCCI as mentioned above, the Secretary of the BCCI is entitled to independent legal advice and legal representation in Court in legal proceedings involving the BCCI and the so called directive is nothing but a blatant act to prevent the Secretary from discharging his constitutional duties.”

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