SC allows officials to serve state bodiess, BCCI for 9 years each

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday modified its earlier order to allow any official to be an office bearer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or state association for nine years each.

The court in its January 3 order had said a person can cumulatively hold the office for nine years both in the BCCI and state associations.

The bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud modified the order as the apex cricketing body pointed to the anomaly between the recommendation of Justice Lodha Committee and the January 3 order of the top court.

While the Lodha panel had recommended that a person can hold a BCCI chair and a state association position for nine years each but the January 3 order said that a person can hold BCCI and state association posts cumulatively for nine years only.

The modified order would see the return of BCCI Joint Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry.

However, the officials willing to serve state and BCCI will have to undergo a compulsory “cooling off” period of three years before taking up their next position.

The court earlier this year sacked BCCI President Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke for not complying with its orders to implement the Lodha panel report. Since then, BCCI CEO Rahul Johri is handling the board’s operations.

The court was today handed over the names of nine people which were recommended by Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramaniam and Anil Divan for constituting the Committee of Administrators (COA) to run the day to day affairs of the BCCI and to implement the reforms recommended by Justice Lodha panel. The names were given in a sealed envelope.

The apex court directed not to make the list public until its decision.

After perusing the names, the court directed them to put back in the sealed cover as it indicated that it may prefer a slimmer committee as it fixed next hearing on January 24.

The apex court, however, questioned the list as some of the people named in the list are aged over 70. The Lodha panel recommended that no one above 70 can hold an administrative position in the BCCI or any of the state associations.

The bench indicated that it may opt for a slimer committee of administrators as it fixed next hearing on January 24. “There has to be a committee, it can’t be left to a single CEO”, observed Justice Misra.

The apex court, however, questioned the list as some of the people named in the list are aged over 70. The Lodha panel recommended that no one above 70 can hold an administrative position in the BCCI or any of the state associations.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and the BCCI on Friday urged the Supreme Court to recall its July 18 order of downgrading full membership of Railways, Services and the Association of Universities to that of an associate member.

The BCCI and the Centre sought recall of the judgment contending that some of its founding member have been put into rotatory mode for being a voter of the apex cricketing body, effectively stripping them of their voting rights.

Rohatgi also argued that the implementation of the Lodha reforms should be referred to a larger bench as it requires a bigger debate.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing the affected three state associations, said that “Once you (court) appoints administrators, then nothing would be left”.

Wondering how could Railways, Services and Association of Universities, who were full members with voting rights, be downgraded as associate members, Rohatgi also questioned the rationale of debarring the serving government officials or a minister from being an office bearer of the apex cricketing body.

“Why can’t Minister of Railways be an office bearer of the BCCI”, Rohatgi told the court. “I am seeking the recall of the order. I have a government character. My vote on behalf of the government of India has been taken away. I have been removed without notice to me.

Rohatgi pointed out all three downgraded bodies have been promoting cricket for last 50 years and giving employment to cricketers.

Seeking the recall of the judgment, Rohatgi told the court that Justice Lodha Committee was set-up to punish some people involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match fixing but later its scope was expanded for organisational reforms in the BCCI.

Sensing an opportunity for a recall of July 18 and January 2 judgment about Railways, Services and Association of Universities, the BCCI and some of its state affiliates too joined the chorus contending that some of BCCI’s founding members have been put into rotatory mode, which effectively stripped them of their voting rights.

Meeting the challenge, Subramaniam told the court that July 18 judgment had dealt with all the points being raised now and had rejected them. He told the court that they had filed a plea seeking the review of the July 18 verdict that was rejected.

Referring to negotiation between the BCCI and the International Cricket Council (ICC) on financial matters, Sibal said the ICC only talks to BCCI’s office bearers and CEO knows nothing about it.

Sibal said: “This ad-hoc arrangement will ruin cricket. Some (of the seasoned cricket administrators) are out because they are 70 years (attained the age of 70 years), others (because of cumulative) nine years and (still others on accounts of) cooling off period. If the other side (petitioner) cools off we may get good order.”

–IANS

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