No escaping Lodha panel recommendations, Supreme Court tells BCCI

Supreme Court questions BCCI’s unwillingness to adopt Lodha panel’s recommendations, criticises its delaying tactics.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:March 3, 2016 9:34 pm
lodha committee, lodha committee report, lodha committee recommendations, lodha panel, lodha panel report, bcci, bcci cricket, bcci india, bcci cricket india, bcci news, cricket news, cricket The Supreme Court bench said India’s fine run in world cricket is not because of BCCI, but despite BCCI. (Source: File)

Making it clear that the cricketing body’s rules were “neither sacrosanct nor beyond the reach of the court”, the Supreme Court on Thursday told the BCCI that it would prevent all attempts to “filibuster” or “prolong” the much-needed reforms in administration of cricket in India.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla also took a swipe at the BCCI when it asserted the Indian cricket team was the top team in T20 and Test cricket. “Is this because of the BCCI or despite BCCI?” remarked the bench, adding that the cricketing body performed public function, hence it has to be held accountable for its activities.

As a clutch of counsel representing the BCCI and various state cricket associations complained that their views were not solicited by the Lodha panel before making recommendations on the issue of ‘one state-one association-one vote’, the court pulled them up, questioning why they were sitting on the fence when the entire world was aware that the apex court had set up a committee for overhaul of cricket in India.

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“Why were you waiting? It was widely known that we have formed Lodha Committee to suggest reforms in cricket. The whole world knew it. It was an international story but you did not go to the Committee. You should have gone there. You now come to us saying you were not heard. What were you doing then?” it questioned.

The lawyers for the BCCI and state cricket associations were unison they would want to go back to Lodha Committee again and present various facts about the issues such as voting rights, curb on advertisements and composition of managing committee to prompt review of the recommendation.

But the bench responded: “There is no question of you wanting it. We, the Supreme Court, will decide whether we are inclined to send it back. This may be the easiest way to filibuster or prolong the reforms. Further, the Committee cost a lot of money to the BCCI. It is a very expensive Committee.”

It said that the bench would first examine if the issues raised against some of the recommendations of the Lodha panel can be addressed by the court itself. “If we cannot do this on our own, we will then refer it to the Committee on very limited points, that too after fixing a deadline to submit the supplementary report,” said the bench.

Fixing the next hearing for March 18, the court allowed all the state associations as well some former players including Bishan Singh Bedi and Kirti Azad to submit their views on Lodha panel’s recommendations.

Funding to state units

It also directed the BCCI to submit details of funds it allocated to state associations in the last five years after observing that there seemed to be no audit and that transfer of this money without any drawn up plan on how to spend it may influence the voting pattern.

“You have transferred Rs 480 crore to these associations in one year. There has to be some credible monitoring mechanism on how this money is used… what development has taken place as far as cricketing infrastructure is concerned. Also tell us how much fund have you given to states like Manipur or Nagaland. What has been the allocation pattern? We would like to know if some states have been neglected,” it asked the BCCI.

The court also took umbrage at the BCCI’s objections to the Lodha panel recommendation on prohibiting ministers and bureaucrats from the managing committee. The BCCI argued that people like former minister NKP Salve lent leadership and experience in cricket administration.

“So just because NKP Salve was there, you want every other minister also to be there? You are finding fault with having a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General on your governing council, but you don’t mind a minister?” it said.

The bench pointed out that the BCCI had issues even with a CAG nominee being a part of the committee as their conscience keeper. “You say ICC may disenfranchise you. What for? Will they disenfranchise you because you have a person in your committee on the orders of the Supreme Court to check on irregularities?”

Appearing for the BCCI, senior advocate KK Venugopal further said the Lodha panel recommendation to have one full-time member in one state with one vote could lead to corruption like the one seen in FIFA. To this, the bench asked how many such incidents FIFA had experienced before and that this was first such scandal in 50 or 100 years.

The BCCI also complained about a recommendation to reduce advertisements during matches, contending it would cripple its finances and plans to promote cricket teams for women and under-18 shall be hit hard.

The bench retorted: “Are you considering a viewer’s right to enjoy the game in low priority than your right to earn revenue? The prominent spirit should be viewers’ enjoyment. Do you think Indian team has reached this position because of commercial aspect?”

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  1. P
    Poonma Bishnoi
    Mar 3, 2016 at 7:06 pm
    I wish every CJI could be like Hon. TS Thakur... The way he pulled up BCCI is really amazing. Hats off to him
    1. M
      Apr 6, 2016 at 7:46 am
      BCCI Is the most corrupt body in the world. lt;br/gt;It is completely controlled by politicians and business;br/gt;BCCI has become Board Cricket Corruption in;br/gt;BCCI does not have idea of cricket;br/gt;In the name of IPL it is destroying cricket and misleading budding cricketers.
      1. G
        Gangesh Gowri
        Mar 4, 2016 at 1:44 am
        No objection from the BCCI must be tolerated and it must first be ordered to fall in line. It is a dilatory strategy form the Board and even to byp the Recommendations of the Panel; such sophistry needs to be taken with the disdain it deserves. The Court can even consider derecognizing the cabal that the BCCI has plunged into presently as it is managed mostly by crooks and swindlers. As it claims to be a private body it should be deprived of the onerous privilege of running the game in the country and selecting teams to represent the country in various international tourneys. Enforce the sacrosanct recommendations of the Committee or let the Board be disbanded.
        1. S
          Mar 4, 2016 at 6:26 am
          What Business SC has in meddling in the affairs of BCCI? Is any legal or consutional issue involved? We do not want want SC interfering in issues like dance bars and Bcci.
          1. S
            sp chakravorty
            Mar 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm
            We all expect that The Supreme Court should broom out all the possible corruption happening in BCCI since long.Full marks to SC for their strong and clear direction to eradicate the evil of corruption from the house of BCCI. SC rightly enquired about the fund allocation to the states where i am sure there will be vested interest of the members belonging to the states.Hats off to SC for the strong decision and order to reform the BCCI. BCCi still shamefully arguing some silly matter but they do not know that the judges in SC are much superior to them in every field.Hats off to SC and the Hon'le judges.
            1. S
              S. Gowrishankar,
              Mar 4, 2016 at 6:16 am
              So you want to convey that these judges need not know or have practiced law to be judges. Don't you??
              1. S
                S. Gowrishankar,
                Mar 4, 2016 at 12:18 am
                This so called Supreme Court has lost all its senses. Tomorrow it will start arbitrating in a game of cricket pla by street urchins. It is only fit for that. Dear Supreme Court, allow the people of India to decide about the game. We spectators do not want you to meddle with the game. What do you know about cricket? Did the CJI ever play competent cricket to know about its administration? Let the CJI set right the corruption in the judiciary first before setting right others. SUPREME COURT KEEP OFF. OTHERWISE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA WILL TEACH YOU A LESSON AND ENSURE YOU ARE KEPT OFF. BE CAREFUL.
                1. S
                  S. Gowrishankar,
                  Mar 4, 2016 at 12:22 am
                  Utter non-sense. The CJI is not delivering justice but behaving like some publicity monger. Sorry. The so called judges have already lowered the pride of the Supreme Court of India by their poor performance. They are not satisfied. They are continuing. These judges must be taught a lesson by the people of India.
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