The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s 87th Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) to be held in Mumbai on Wednesday has at least five items on the agenda that are in direct conflict with the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee’s order.
As per the Lodha Committee directive, the AGM should be restricted to “routine business concerning the past year (2015-2016)”, but the BCCI is set to go ahead with its proposed schedule, although there’s a possibility that ignoring the Committee’s directive might invite a contempt charge.
The BCCI agenda items that propose to “adopt the Annual Budget for the year 2016-17” (Item No. 4), “appoint Auditors for the Financial Year 2016-17 and to fix their remuneration” (Item No. 5), “elect the Hon. Secretary” (Item No. 6), “elect the Working Committee, Standing Committee and Special Committees for the year 2016-17” (Item No. 7) and “appoint an Ombudsman” (Item No. 11) are for the season ahead and not restricted to the past year.
The agenda also includes the appointment of the BCCI’s representative to the ICC (Item No. 12) following Shashank Manohar’s nomination as the independent world body chairman in May. Manohar is no longer connected with the Indian board and is currently holidaying overseas. The Lodha committee had directed that the BCCI at the AGM should table any business or matters relating to the next year (2016-2017) only after the adoption of the MoA and Rules as per the recommendations of the Committee
“As per the first Compliance Report submitted by the Secretary BCCI, it was stated that an AGM of the BCCI is proposed to be called on 21.9.2016 to transact ‘routine business’. The Committee now directs that this AGM be limited only to routine business concerning the past year (2015-2016), and that any business or matters relating to the next year (2016-2017) be dealt with only after the adoption of the MoA and Rules as per the recommendations of the Committee in accordance with the same,” this was what Lodha Committee secretary Gopal Sankaranarayanan wrote to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri on August 31.
The BCCI has its own logic. “Ajay Shirke is working as a nominated office-bearer and our constitution says the secretary has to be elected. Justice (Retd) AP Shah’s tenure ends on Thursday, so we have to appoint a new Ombudsman. And we have to run the game in the country for which different committees need to be formed. Working committee is the highest authority in the BCCI and nothing can be done without its approval. So it’s imperative we form a new working committee as per the zonal rotation system. In fact, all committees come to an end at the AGM and new committees are formed. That’s a routine business,” said a cricket board official. The BCCI confirmed via an email that it has received only Shirke’s nomination for the post of secretary.
“We have also invited applications for the posts of national selectors. We have to honour our cricket assignments and pick teams for series and tournaments. So we require selection committees,” the official added.
The Lodha panel, however, will keep a close eye on the proceedings. “Let’s see how they proceed. The panel will decide its future course of action after that. If the BCCI defies the panel’s directives, then that will be considered contempt of court,” a Lodha panel official told The Indian Express.
He also informed that the BCCI has missed the September 3 deadline for sending “the status of compliance” of “all bids, tenders and contracts entered into by and on behalf of the BCCI after 18.7.2016”. The cricket board, meanwhile, has announced the Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the IPL and then roped in Janalakshmi Financial Services “as an official partner for a period of three years”. Also, formation of the working committee is contrary to the Lodha panel recommendation that has proposed a nine-member Apex Council.
The Supreme Court in its July 18 order accepted the majority of the Lodha panel recommendations regarding the overhaul in the cricket board’s governance and functioning. The Committee subsequently issued a set of timelines with September 30 being the last date for the BCCI and state associations to amend their constitutions and incorporate the new Memorandum of Association (MoA) and Rules. According to the Committee’s second set of timelines; deadline for “Elections for State Associations” is November 15, while “Elections to the Apex Council of BCCI, BCCI AGM and Appointment of Ethics Officer and Ombudsman” should be done by December 15. December 30 is deadline for “Creation of BCCI Committees, IPL Governing Council and Appointment of the Management under the new Rules”.