The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators’ three-year-long effort to convince the BCCI to adopt the Justice R M Lodha-approved constitution may soon come to naught. The Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, said on Thursday that once the proposed uniform sports code comes into force, the BCCI, like other national sports federations, will also be governed by a new set of rules.
Speaking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange programme, Rijiju said, “Once we come out with a proper refined sports code, everything will come under it, including cricket. It will be settled. Let’s wait for some time. We will come up with a refined sports code.”
The CoA, appointed by the apex court in 2017, demitted office last week after Sourav Ganguly was elected president of the reformed BCCI. The new restrictions imposed by Justice Lodha concerned the age and tenure of members. The member units which were found non-compliant were left out of the BCCI general body meeting and the election.
With the new sports code — to be put in place after consensus of all sports bodies — said to be far less rigid as compared to the SC-approved BCCI constitution, the tenure of the present office-bearers can be extended. While the Lodha panel’s reforms permit a cumulative period of nine years for any BCCI office-bearer with a three-year “cooling off” between each term, the draft of the sports code allows a president to serve three terms of four years each without a break. Currently, Ganguly is likely to serve only nine months as BCCI president because of the “cooling off” clause. But this can change if the BCCI follows the sports code.
Without giving a time frame for the law to take effect, the minister, who took over five months ago, said he was seized of the matter. “I cannot give you a timeline, but there is a Delhi High Court order, giving direction to my secretary and other bodies to present a case before the minister, that is me, and then take a call. I have received a copy of the order. Besides the court’s direction, we have begun the process,” he said.
Rijiju said all stakeholders will be taken into confidence while formulating the sports code. “In the meeting with the IOA and sports federations, I told them that we will form a committee and then take the opinion of all the stakeholders, and then come up with a refined sports code. They happily agreed. They authorised me to do what I want to do,” he said.
Asked if the rewriting of the current BCCI constitution would be seen as undermining of the Supreme Court order, Rijiju said it was up to the sports bodies to get their house in order to prevent the judiciary from stepping into their domain. “The courts know that they intervene only when there is no solution, no mechanism. If we are equipped, if we are managing things smoothly, why will the courts interfere? So the handling of our internal matters is in our own domain,” he said.