New Delhi: The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud heard the matter against the BCCI in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. While there were various allegations and counter-allegations, the apex court has asked the state cricket associations and BCCI office-bearers to give suggestions on draft constitution of the apex cricket body. And the move has come as a shot in the arm for the board members as the SC has once again shown that the interest of cricket is in their heart.
Having last heard the matter in November, the three-member bench said on Tuesday that while the state associations and the office-bearers would provide suggestions for the draft constitution, it would be approved by the bench and would be binding on the BCCI. This comes in stark contrast of the plea of the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) who in their seventh status report had asked for the removal of all the current office-bearers. The SC wants the office-bearers and the CoA to work together in an effort to help Indian cricket move forward.
Speaking to CricketNext, a senior BCCI official called the decision of the bench extremely thoughtful and one that will help take Indian cricket forward. He went on to add that the bench once again showed that the SC is keen to close the matter in the most cordial manner, keeping the interest of the game and the cricket fanatics across the country in mind.
“The Supreme Court has once again maintained that the steps and decisions they have taken are keeping the interest of cricket at heart. The CoA has time and again tried to make this an adversarial situation, but we don't feel that way. And the SC has maintained that this is not an adversarial situation and one that must be debated and everyone must be heard. Today, the bench made it clear that they want to close the matter ensuring that cricket doesn’t suffer under any circumstance,” the official explained.
Explaining the proceedings in the court further, the official said: “The bench has been considerate and has asked for suggestions from the state associations and office-bearers that can go beyond the guidelines of the Lodha committee. This is indeed a big positive as that means that if someone feels that there are things that can be included in the constitution for the betterment of Indian cricket, but wasn’t mentioned in the Lodha reforms, there is scope for inclusion.”
In fact, the apex court has also gone ahead and explained the need to do away with the cooling-off period of three years between two terms citing the need for continuity and another BCCI official said that experience and knowhow of the functioning of the BCCI was a must for every member involved in the daily functioning of the board.
“The apex court appreciated the fact that change of personnel after every three year isn’t the way forward as continuity is a must. The biggest example can be that of the CoA coming on board in January last year. The whole financial and governance model in the ICC was mishandled by one member of the CoA — also a former CEO of a private bank — as he wasn’t aware of how things function at ICC meetings.
“The end result was that India lost its position and control in the world body. This doesn’t help the BCCI in the longer run. If someone aware of the situation was handling the issue, things could have been very different,” he explained.
The official also said that while the CoA has considered it a battle between them and the office-bearers, the bench once again reminded them on Tuesday that Indian cricket is the priority and the directives of the apex court is paramount.
“The CoA on April 12 decided that a person who is not a citizen of India, a person who has attained the age of 70 years, a person who has is declared to be insolvent, or of unsound mind, a person who is a minister or government servant, a person who holds any office or post in a sports or athletic association or federation apart from cricket, a person who has been an office bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years and a person who has been charged by a Court of Law for having committed any criminal offence shall not be permitted to be part of any committee/sub-committee of BCCI. Neither the Supreme Court Judgment dated 18.07.2016 nor any order subsequent there to envisages a situation where these disqualifications that apply to office bearers apply to members of a committee of the BCCI.
“What strikes at the hollow roots of the said decision is the apparent intent of the committee to selectively apply the decision in cases where the subject is someone the committee may be displeased with or whose views the committee may not agree with. As per the communication, the decision was taken by the committee on April 12. However, on April 17, Prakash Dixit, who has crossed 70 attended the meeting of the Infrastructure Development Committee and deliberated on all the items on the agenda in the presence of Rahul Johri and subsequently, in the meeting of the committee for the selection of recipients of the BCCI Awards, N Ram, who has also crossed 70 was also allowed to attend,” he said.
The SC has also decided that the ‘One State One Vote’ clause and the eligibility criteria for national selectors and the number of members in the selection committee needs a re-look.
Speaking to CricketNext, a BCCI official said that these steps would help in the smooth functioning of the board.
“As far as the ‘One State One Vote’ clause is concerned, the bench clearly said that their policy is of inclusion and not exclusion. And as far as the selection committee is concerned, in a vast country like India, you need at least 5 people to ensure that talent doesn’t miss out due to lack of visibility. It will ensure further transparency,” he signed off.