The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA), in a letter to all state associations, has clarified that office-bearers will get nine years either in the BCCI or state bodies, and it’s not a cumulative 18-year term. The directive calls time on the cricket administration careers of almost all high-profile BCCI and state association functionaries — Rajeev Shukla, Amitabh Choudhary, Anirudh Chaudhry, Brijesh Patel et al. — unless it is revoked in future court hearings.
These cricket administrators haven’t served nine years in the BCCI, although they have completed that period in their respective state associations. The Supreme Court has already removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke from their respective positions of cricket board president and secretary for non-compliance.
The COA, in its letter, said that “until there is clarity on the exact scope and extent of the disqualifications” as per the apex court’s January 2, January 3 and January 20 orders, the disqualifications would be based on adherence to the Lodha Committee recommendations, accepted by the Supreme Court. Which means, “Persons who have been office-bearers of the BCCI for a total period of 9 years”, and/or “Persons who have been office bearers of State/member association for a total period of 9 years” are ineligible to hold any official post.
When contacted by The Indian Express, a Lodha Committee official said: “It’s a yes or no question. If you answer yes to either of the two questions, you stand disqualified from holding any official post anywhere. If you have finished nine years either at the BCCI or a state association, you are disqualified.”
A source close to the COA concurred. “The way the wording of the court order is, it’s not nine-plus-nine. If you finish nine in the state, you are potentially disqualified. Or if you finish nine at the BCCI, then also you are potentially disqualified. It’s not 18. That is the interpretation of the lawyers, because the wording is structured that way,” he said.
The Lodha Committee recommendations have placed a nine-year cumulative clause for the disqualification of office-bearers, but as per the interpretation of a section of BCCI members, the tenure was separately applicable to the cricket board and its state units.
‘Lack of clarity’
The COA directives came in the wake of the committee being “informed” about the “lack of clarity” in terms of disqualifications.
The COA has also asked the state bodies to “provide with” the names of their current office-bearers, along with the members of governing body/managing committee/working committee, while directing the member units to confirm whether they have complied with the Supreme Court’s October 7, 2016 and October 21, 2016 orders to be eligible to receive BCCI funds.
The apex court, in those orders, had directed the cricket board to “forthwith cease and desist from making any disbursement of funds for any purpose whatsoever to any state association” unless they were falling in line with the Lodha reforms as accepted by the court.
The associations that “completed the compliances” have been asked to forward copies of resolutions and affidavits. The state associations have also been asked to “confirm the status of compliance” with regard to the Lodha Committee timelines on adopting the new constitution and holding elections. The state associations have to respond to the COA 5 pm on March 1.