Supreme Court ‘inclined to implement’ all recommendations by Lodha panel

Supreme Court said BCCI is practically corrupting its units by not seeking any explanation on how crores of rupees were being spent.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: April 6, 2016 1:41 pm
bcci, bcci india, bcci cricket, bcci full form, supreme court, sc, supreme court of india, cricket news, cricket Supreme Court of India pulled up BCCI once again. (Source: File)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday put the BCCI in the dock over its fund distribution to affiliate members, observing that the board seemed to have “done nothing to promote cricket uniformly in all the states” and has instead created a “mutually beneficial society”.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla took strong exception to negligible funds allocated to various states by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and questioned whether it was being done with a design to receive some benefits in elections. “Out of 29 states, 11 member associations have not got a single penny. It is not a good sign. It is your argument that these states do not play cricket, but how will you develop the game if you don’t give them any money? You have done nothing to promote it (cricket) there… and that is the misfortune,” remarked the bench after it went through a chart adduced by the BCCI on fund allocations.

The court added “there are big zeroes” and pointed out states like Gujarat and Goa have received 50-60 crores whereas some states have been given a meagre 50 lakh for the entire year. “A state like Goa which has a population of 10 lakh gets Rs 60 crore but Chhattisgarh gets only Rs 1.4 crore. Can you explain why? It looks like the only policy you have is of ‘you show me the face and I will show you the rules’. The system must change,” said the bench.

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Representing the BCCI, senior advocate KK Venugopal sought to convince the court by arguing that states having international stadium get additional money for its maintenance and that a non-discriminatory policy has been adopted by the board.

But the bench remained unimpressed as it further questioned the mechanism for auditing the accounts of the member associations. “Have you asked these associations and states how they have spent the money? You have left it to them to spend it as they wish. You allot money without demanding explanation which is practically corrupting them,” it asserted.

Venugopal responded that the BCCI has now sought the professional services of PricewaterhouseCoopers to audit the accounts of various associations.

However, the court asked Venugopal whether auditing was being avoided deliberately so that these members “raise their hands whenever you want them to.” The bench added that it is “testing the waters to decide” the matter while also seeking answers as to how an affiliate member becomes a full member after Venugopal contended that full members get more money at their disposal.

The top court was hearing the BCCI’s objections to the string of recommendations made by the Lodha panel in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal. On being asked, Venugopal had said their first objection pertained to a recommendation providing for one state-one association-one vote.

According to the BCCI, various states had more than one associations for valid reasons and added that it may not be a well-thought idea to hand over voting rights to states which do not play cricket. The prime objection related to the seven north-eastern states, which would get seven votes in case Lodha panel’s recommendation gets the seal of approval from the apex court although cricket is not a popular game in these states.

The bench had allowed the BCCI as well as the associations to present their arguments but it reminded them on Tuesday that it was inclined to implement the recommendations of the panel headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha.

“Please don’t say Lodha Committee recommendations cannot be implemented. Remember that it is not an ordinary committee. We have reposed utmost faith in this committee and the committee has spent almost one year on coming out with these recommendations. We will be inclined to implement all its recommendations,” observed the court.

Appearing for the Punjab Cricket Association, senior lawyer Ashok H Desai questioned the mandate of the Lodha panel to prescribe measures for voting and state associations. The court retorted: “Nobody is doing anything to the associations. The committee has only said there should be one association to manage cricket. It is now for the state authorities to organise themselves.” The court will hear the arguments next on April 15.

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  1. S
    Apr 5, 2016 at 10:46 pm
    Cricket is the only game for Brahmin sluggards and more so because of the illegal Manet in it. Remember, fm where there is a criminal, there is a Brahmin.!!!
    1. A
      Apr 5, 2016 at 9:00 pm
      Sad and Shameful a game that entertained mes and held in high esteem turned into total lt;br/gt;commercial oriented business , with player making huge money for role and advts, also for lt;br/gt;match fixing at times, with connivance of officials who select ONLY those who obey (!?);br/gt;TAX the body heavily for income and misuse abuse of powers; no need to bring in political folks into the control group; let past cricketeers manage the show for a while and then step down for next set of retired ! To get selected also talent is not enough; bribe demanded !!!
      1. Ashok Kriplani
        Apr 6, 2016 at 2:47 am
        Has SC done anything for common man than the influential social criminal like persons: saying the common man to get civil action against the influential social criminal persons acting criminally against him. Civil action itself is coercive in India for a common man, so it is double coercive for common;br/gt;It is admitted that criminal justice delivery system has collapsed , because of slower or no action against the perpetrators of;br/gt;So why SC is not correcting itself first. It is also a fact that there was only one Warren Hasting in the time of Raja Nand Kumar but now there so many Warren Hastings. WHEN ADMITTEDLY Judiciary has become thick skinned, can it do justice for a common man?
        1. A
          Apr 6, 2016 at 12:14 am
          Why the SC is sounding so weak in front of BCCI. Publishing reports and making Amitabh Bachchan like dialogues wont solve anything. But I think BCCI is too powerful for the SC and in India the judiciary and the executive are separate only for the common man.
          1. B
            Apr 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm
            Good move! As usual it takes a Supreme Court to have the courage to take on money power.
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