The BCCI headquarters wore a defeatist look on the day the Supreme Court came down hard on them for violations of the Lodha Committee recommendations and for non-compliance in implementing reforms. It was a double blow for Indian cricket officials as Chief Justice of India TS Thakur warned them to “fall in line” and set October 6 as the deadline after the Lodha committee sought directions to supercede the present office bearers.
After the long fight, BCCI seemed to have given up.
The board had called for a special general body meeting on September 30 to consider the amendments, but it’s now likely to see a few resignations. Since the committee also wanted the Court to form a new panel of BCCI administrators during this transition period, there is curiosity among a few officials to see whether they get a role in the new system.
The Indian Express spoke to a few BCCI office bearers who hinted they had no choice but to accept the recommendations at the special AGM. There was also some gripe about the decisions of the court and its committee. Speculations are rife that Anurag Thakur, the BCCI president and BJP MP, might step down, followed by secretary Ajay Shirke.
“We have no option left, we are helpless. Sab khatam ho gaya. One goes to the Supreme Court to get justice, but here something else is happening. We have to accept all reforms by September 30,” a senior board functionary told The Indian Express.
The Apex court had backed the Lodha committee’s status report, which detailed the timeline of events, citing the numerous delays in responding to the committee, violations of the recommendations, and a lack of will to implement the reforms. The court set a week’s deadline, and also made their ire over BCCI’s stubbornness very clear.
If the Indian board’s SGM decides to pass the Lodha Committee’s recommendations to adopt the new Memorandum of Association and Rules by September 30, Anurag Thakur’s days as BCCI president are numbered.
“The day the BCCI SGM decides to implement Lodha committee’s recommendations, all members will have to choose between BCCI and its state associations. Those who have completed more than nine years will have to vacate their posts and those who are chairing the seat for consecutive terms too will be required to undergo a cooling period. The ball is in Anurag Thakur’s court now, to resign or not,” another BCCI official said.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has made its intentions very clear. “BCCI, it seems, will go to the extent of defying court orders,” Justice Thakur said. “We had been anticipating such disregard from the board. We don’t appreciate such tactics by the BCCI. We have no difficulty in passing orders to make sure our previous orders are implemented.”
Justice (Retd) RM Lodha, however, made it clear that the BCCI had got an opportunity to argue their case. “Every recommendation which was not acceptable to the BCCI was opposed and they had full opportunity to argue. We all bow to the Supreme Court,” Lodha said.
Asked if he is open to a dialogue with the BCCI to further discuss the recommendations, Lodha said: “We are no party to the litigation, there is no question of a dialogue. We are simply to implement the Supreme Court’s judgement now. We held a meeting on 9th August (with the BCCI officials) and three weeks before that meeting, intimation was sent to Mr Anurag Thakur and Mr Ajay Shirke. We wanted to discuss. We invited them on our own, we sent communication to them. One of them came (Shirke), the other (Thakur) didn’t,” he said.
Talking about decisions regarding the 2016-17 season taken at the AGM, Lodha said, “I am nobody to examine their mood (in BCCI), we have only examined the decisions taken by them in their AGM, we had already clarified to them that the AGM can go ahead and they can discuss routine measures for the year 2015-16. No decision should be taken concerning 2016-17. Certain decisions have been taken which are directly in conflict with what we directed BCCI to do. Therefore it was necessary for us to bring it to the notice of the Supreme Court that these are the violations,” Lodha said.
Meanwhile, former BCCI president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the cricket body is not opposing the reforms proposed by the Supreme Court, but only seeking clarifications. Pawar said, “We are not saying no, we just need some clarifications from them. If we have to call a (BCCI) AGM and make changes in the constitution, we have no objection, but simultaneously, our lawyer brought to our notice that according to the Supreme Court orders, it is not applicable to state associations and this needs to be clarified.”