Disappointed by the latest power tussle between Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, who form the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) set up on the Supreme Court’s orders to implement the reforms his panel had suggested, Justice (retd) R M Lodha told The Indian Express that the two were “making a spectacle of themselves”.
Clarifying that no one was “superior or inferior, higher or lower”, he pointed out that the CoA wasn’t constituted to work on a “my way or the highway” principle.
Lodha was reacting to the recent email spat between the CoA members, with Edulji complaining about chairman Rai overruling her on the issue of picking the women’s team coach. In her mail, accessed by The Indian Express, Edulji had argued that there was no reason for a change since women’s captain Harmanpreet Kaur was keen to continue with coach Ramesh Powar Edulji had also reminded Rai about the CoA’s previous decision to support the men’s team captain Virat Kohli when he wanted coach Anil Kumble to be replaced by Ravi Shastri. With Rai disregarding her view and initiating the process to pick the women’s coach, Edulji questioned the chairman’s superiority and his mandate to veto her decision.
Lodha said everyone in CoA was equal and consensus was primary in decision-making. “They are making a spectacle of themselves. It’s a two-member committee so all the decisions have to be unanimous, no one is superior or inferior, higher or lower. If they aren’t unanimous, status quo should be maintained till they are able to agree on something. This can’t be ‘my way or highway’,” he said.
On the repercussions of such disagreements, Justice Lodha said: “If they can’t convince each other and can’t have a unanimous view, how can they ask the BCCI’s state associations to implement the SC order? You can have multiple views but once you sit, you have to find a middle path. There is nothing like a veto power in this committee. This is just a two-member committee, this is not a Parliament where a Speaker is given a casting vote.”
Lodha also didn’t approve of the extensive use of email as a frequent mode of communication. “I don’t know why they are exchanging emails and putting things on record. They are members of the committee and should sit together, if required meet everyday, and iron out the creases,” he said.
The retired SC judge said that if the differences between Rai and Edulji were irreconcilable, they should have asked for urgent intervention from the court. “If they can’t function together, they should stop functioning and report to the court that this is the problem. They should tell the court that we can’t get along. Can you ride a bicycle that has one truck tyre and other cycle wheel? The SC would have immediately made this a three or five-member committee, which would work on majority decisions,” he said.
Lodha was worried that the CoA had got its priority wrong and wasn’t following the brief given to them by the apex court. “Unfortunately, they have involved themselves in all minor issues and this is the reason things have gone haywire. Their main job was the implementation of the SC order. It has been two years since the order was passed and the old BCCI officials continue to work. We wanted to get transparency in the BCCI, transform the entire management and governance structure, organise a players’ association. Nothing has happened. They keep filing reports, what’s the value of those reports?” he said.
The man who headed the committee that scripted the reforms over two years ago that were to shake up Indian cricket is also losing hope. “It’s really sad for me to see all this. You are virtually administering the entire board. If you continue to have divergent expressions on major issues that means the committee is not functioning the way it should. You can’t play with an institution like this. I don’t see light at the end of this tunnel.”