Former BCCI legal counsel feels board dug its own grave

Kolkata, Jan 2 (IANS) Advocate Usha Nath Banerjee, the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) long standing former legal advisor, on Monday blamed the governing body for vehemently opposing the July 18 Supreme Court order, saying it has invited its own misery and brought shame to the game.

“The BCCI has always opposed the Supreme Court order tooth and nail since the day it was laid out. They have only themselves to blame for this day when two of their top office-bearers had to be shown the door forcefully,” Banerjee, who served as the BCCI’s legal adviser for 19 years, told a television channel.

BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke were shunted out from their posts by the Supreme Court in an order passed in Delhi on Monday morning.

The court order was a culmination of a long-standing impasse between the board and the Supreme Court appointed Lodha Committee for reforms in the administration of cricket in India.

The board had resisted implementing some of the committee’s recommendations like One-State-One-Vote (Mumbai, Baroda, Railways etc. lose voting rights), age cap of 70 years on offfice-bearers, One person-One post, three-year cooling off period, and three national selectors.

Banerjee said deliberations could have solved the problems like the cooling off period point, but the BCCI tried to wage a war with the apex court.

“There were issues which could have been discussed. There was no need to take up the cudgels against the Law of the Land when you know you have been found doing wrong,” Banerjee said.

The most senior BCCI vice-president, as directed by the court, will now take over as the interim president while Joint Secretary Amitabh Choudhary will be the interim secretary.

The court said the replacements will have to give an undertaking that they will adhere to the July 18 court order, which approved the majority of Lodha Committee recommendations.

Banerjee vouched for the court appointed Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramanium and eminent lawyer Fali Nariman to suggest the names that would be in the committee to be headed by an administrator to oversee the board’s work.

“These two are not only the best lawyers in the country but the two most honest people around,” Banerjee said.

Asked if the Supreme Court in its verdict on Monday could have spelt out the names of the administrators, Banerjee said, “There is a way power can be used. (G.K.) Pillai’s name was opposed by BCCI so that is why the SC has given it to the Amicus Curiae to propose new names.”

Former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai’s name was proposed by the Lodha panel as the BCCI observer which was squarely opposed by the board.

Banerjee concluded by saying that what the future holds is difficult to foresee but whoever will come to power next will not make the mistake of taking on the Supreme Court, which always has the final say.

–IANS

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