In one sweeping move, by stipulating tenure-limit and age restrictions on officebearers, the Supreme Court has ensured that nearly all the administrators from across the country, in the Board of Control for Cricket in India and with the state associations, would have to quit their role.
The Indian cricket set-up, the BCCI and state associations included, is facing a mass clear-out following the Supreme Court’s July 18 order that accepted majority of the Lodha Committee recommendations with regard to the structure and governance of the cricket board and its affiliates. But more than the 70-year upper age limit or restrictions on ministers and public servants, the state associations are going to be affected by the nine-year tenure cap for officebearers.
A clarification by Lodha committee issued after the judgment has nailed the fate of the administrators — it has said that the judgment would be applied retrospectively.
“Any individual who has cumulatively completed a period of 9 years as an Office Bearer of a State Association stands disqualified from contesting elections or holding a post in the Association. This will apply to any person as of the date of the election, and will include periods prior to the date of the judgment (18.07.2016). So that there is no doubt, if any individual has completed 9 years as an office bearer (whether through consecutive or separate terms; whether in one post or another) of the State Association by or before 18.07.2016, that individual stands disqualified,” the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee’s secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan informed the BCCI via email, which in turn has been circulated among the state associations.
The Lodha report in spirit doesn’t allow anybody who stands disqualified to be part of state association’s executive body go to the BCCI. “Any elected Councillor shall stand automatically disqualified after nine years as an office bearer and shall also be disqualified from contesting or holding the post if he has completed the age of 70 years, is charged under the penal law, is declared to be of unsound mind, is a Minister or government servant or holds any post of other sports body in the country,” the report mentioned.
As things stand now, those who have completed a cumulative period of nine years in office will be relegated to ordinary members in their respective state bodies. State units like Assam and Jammu and Kashmir will suffer because their elected heads, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Imran Ansari respectively, are state ministers. Punjab Cricket Association and Tripura Cricket Association have public servants in their managing committees. They will have to quit.
A lot of heavyweights will fall — from former ICC and BCCI bosses Sharad Pawar and N Srinivasan to current board chief Anurag Thakur, secretary Ajay Shirke, treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry and joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhary. Almost every seasoned hand is staring at the exit door. It can create a vacuum before new faces emerge, and a deeply concerned BCCI has sought an audience with the three-member panel comprising former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and retired Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and RV Raveendran on August 8 and 9 in Delhi. Before that the board has called a special general meeting (SGM).
The Lodha Committee has already swung into action. It issued directives to stall elections in the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), scheduled for July 31 and August 7, respectively. The Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association AGM, held on July 19, was declared null and void.