Justice RM Lodha’s status report states that over the last two months, the SC committee invited BCCI officials for meetings, sent emails and issued detailed timelines for compliance. However, the timeline of the events that transpired after July 18 suggested that an uncooperative BCCI tried their best to delay the process.
Has someone told the state associations yet?
On July 20, two days after the Supreme court authorised them to supervise the implementation of the reforms, the Lodha committee emailed BCCI to intimate the various state associations of the implementation details. The committee has claimed that there was neither an “acknowledgement” from the BCCI nor did they inform the members.
Nine days, after a couple more reminders, Ajay Shirke, the board secretary, replied saying directions regarding state associations are “being studied”. On the same day, Shirke dashed off another mail saying that the BCCI “cannot give directions to state associations to stop elections”. The Committee replied saying that the board has “misunderstood” and they just need to “convey the Committee’s directions to the States.”
The matter continues to be in a limbo for a month when the Committee again asks BCCI on August 25, whether the state associations “have been informed about keeping their elections on hold”. No response again.
In between, the Committee had reached out to the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri for contact details of the state associations, and was told to wait till September 1. Johri sends the details on that day, and finally the state associations are mailed “inviting their attention to earlier directions, the timelines and the website where future notices would be uploaded”.
Will you care to meet Mr Prez?
On July 21, three days after the SC order, the committee reaches out to the Nodal officer, Anirudh Chaudhry, asking to arrange for a meeting on August 8 and 9, and also requests the presence of president Anurag Thakur, and the secretary Shirke. Three days later, Chaudhry, who was told that there was no response from the power duo, tells the Committee that Rahul Johri, the CEO, would coordinate with them in the future.
On July 28, Johri is mailed but no response is forthcoming. Next day, in the papers, Shirke is quoted as saying that he didn’t get any intimation about the meeting; Shirke also mails the Committee to send “all emails directly to his email address, and only then will he communicate about his attendance and availability”.
On 30th, another mail to the secretary Shirke is sent out regarding the meeting. On August 7, a day before the proposed meeting, Shirke mails in to request the meeting be deferred until “Review Petition is decided by this Hon’ble Court” — it’s denied by the Committee. The president Thakur is a no-show the next day, and Shirke submits a letter that a “reasonable request” was not granted by the SC Committee and that president cannot attend.
Mr CEO, can you help?
On August 2, the BCCI floats tender invitations for media rights for India-West Indies T20 series in USA. On August 23, the Committee emails the CEO Johri seeking copies of tenders for Florida T20s. The CEO mails on September 1, detailing the “Bid and Tender compliances post the Judgment of 18.7.2016 showing that due to paucity of time, many parties were unable to participate”.
The review petition mystery.
In a letter dated September 20, the BCCI secretary Shirke finally put BCCI’s main counter-argument to the Committee — the review petition against the Supreme Court’s order to implement reforms. And it said that until the petition is reviewed or dismissed by SC, the BCCI would continue to function the way they have done in the past.
A review petition is used to appeal against a binding Supreme Court judgement and retd justice Markandey Katju has argued on behalf of the BCCI that the Supreme Court has exceeded its judicial powers and assumed legislative powers in restructuring the BCCI. And the review petition usually goes back to the same judges who hear it in private before giving it a public hearing if there is merit to it. Since Justice Kalifullah has retired, justice Thakur can choose a replacement.
The Committee, however, has noted that the board never quite properly filed the review petition yet. On September 29th, the day the status report was filed seeking the removal of Thakur and Shirke as president and secretary, the Committee noted: “Despite continually claiming that all steps taken would be subject to the Review Petition filed, it transpires that the same is in defects with Diary No.27369/2016 even as of date, and there has been no effort to rectify the same and have it numbered and listed.”
‘Statements by Thakur, Katju constitute contempt’
In his status report, Justice RM Lodha took strong objection to some anti-Supreme Court order comments made by those connected with the BCCI. The report suggests that some recent statements by the BCCI president Anurag Thakur and Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju — head of board’s legal committee formed to liaise with the Lodha Committee — were “grossly out of order and would even constitute contempt”. The committee felt that the BCCI tried to undermine them and the Supreme Court by uploading Justice Katju’s ‘Interim Report’ on their website and organizing a press conference on August 7 where he made “several derogatory remarks” about them. Katju was appointed as head of the Interim legal committee to probe the Lodha committee recommendations on August 2.
Some excerpts from Katju’s ‘Interim Report’
* In Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” there was a character called the Queen of Hearts. Whenever she sees anybody, she shouts “off with his head”. When someone said what about first issuing a charge sheet, holding a trial and giving a verdict, she replied “all that can come later, first off with his head.” I regret to say that the Supreme Court bench as well as the Lodha Committee have behaved like the Queen of Hearts.
* The order of 18.7.2016 (where the Supreme Court asked the BCCI to implement a majority of the Lodha recommendations) is nothing but an unwarranted attempt by the Court at the behest of the Lodha Committee at enacting legislation which tramples upon the rights of citizens and associations and seriously impinges on the legislative functions of not only Parliament but also respective State Assemblies.
* Like Alexander the Great cutting the Gordian Knot in its uninhibited and unbridled frenzy, the committee has cast aside all principles of the Constitution, the law and propriety and is conducting a witch hunt.
Thakur’s statements that Lodha committee found objectionable
* The ICC shows concern when there’s outside interference in countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal but has been quiet when there’s been interference in BCCI. We are being arm-twisted at home and in ICC.
* People who have never even played the game, they are trying to govern the board. Efforts are being made to cut BCCI’s roots.
* He even invited Justice Lodha and his team to “come and see the amount of work BCCI does, how it has grown over a period of time with a lot of transparency and accountability” in the upcoming domestic season since the panel “has been unable to visit the state associations and the BCCI headquarters and has met only in five-star hotels”.