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BCCI Ready to Accept Cooling-Off Period With a Twist as Matter Comes up for Hearing in SC

Baidurjo Bhose |Cricketnext | Updated: May 11, 2018, 8:31 AM IST
BCCI Ready to Accept Cooling-Off Period With a Twist as Matter Comes up for Hearing in SC

BCCI Logo. (Getty Images)

New Delhi: The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud is set to hear the matter against the BCCI in the Supreme Court on Friday. The last time the matter came up for hearing was on May 1 and the bench had asked the state cricket associations and BCCI office-bearers to give their suggestions on the draft constitution of the apex cricket body. The bench also reiterated that the finalisation of the draft constitution would depend on its order.

The BCCI state associations and the office-bearers have readied their suggestions and while the ‘one state one vote’ clause of the Lodha recommendations is almost set to be set aside by the bench itself, the most interesting part is the acceptance of the cooling-off period among some members in the board. But it comes with a twist.

A section within the BCCI feels that more than cooling-off for every individual — hindrance in continuity — it is important to ensure that the same person doesn’t hold the same position for nine years at a stretch — an observation which according to the members seems to have eluded the Lodha panel when they were drafting the reforms.

“What we are looking at is a situation wherein a person who is the president, has to go into cooling-off he is nominated again for the same post. But in case of change of position, there shouldn’t be a need for cooling-off as continuity is also an important factor in functioning of the board,” he explained to CricketNext.

Another BCCI official explained that the board wants the suspension of all the disqualifications for the first three years after the implementation of the new constitution to ensure a smooth transition.

“Some of us feel that a smooth transition is very important as there will be a change in the constitution. For everyone to understand how it works and the obstacles that might come in due time, we need a phase of three years after the change in constitution to work according to the old regulations. That will ensure that things fall into place,” the official said.

While the BCCI wants all the existing members to remain, they feel that the associate members should also go the full-members way and be given voting rights.

The elections of the Maharashtra Cricket Association had been put on hold by the bench in its previous hearing and it will be interesting to see the stand the trio takes on Friday.

The COA had in October last year filed a draft constitution of the BCCI incorporating suggestions of the Justice RM Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body. The top court had said the draft constitution should include the suggestions of the Lodha committee in its entirety so that a holistic document can be placed before it for a final decision.

While the BCCI members are keeping their fingers crossed as far as the proceedings in court is concerned, they hope that it comes in favour of majority of the members. “It is a big day and promises a lot on the surface. But one needs to be slightly wary because if the SC says that this is your constitution, then it is immaterial whether it works for the members or not. So, it is hoped that the decision taken by the bench would be in the best interest of the majority of members. On the hindsight, it will also set a precedent wherein the court can enter into the working of a society — BCCI is a society registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.

“Article 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right “to form associations and unions.” The decision could go against it and Article 142 will come into action. Article 142 of Constitution of India deals with enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc. It states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it. Such a situation arrives when there is a vacuum that needs to be filled. But we are keeping our fingers crossed as we believe that the interest of Indian cricket is a priority,” an official said.

BCCI secretary Amitabh Choudhary informed the media that 12 out of the 37 state units (including North Eastern States) have submitted a common four-point suggestion to amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium. The 12 affiliated units are Andhra, Assam, Goa, Jharkhand, Kerala, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Railways, Tripura, Universities, Uttar Pradesh and Vidarbha.

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First Published: May 11, 2018, 8:30 AM IST

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