Confusion continues to reign over the contentious “tenure clause” of the office-bearers in the new BCCI constitution, which came into effect on August 21. So does an office-bearer become ineligible for a BCCI post after he or she has served nine years for a state association or vice versa? Or will these tenures be counted as independent of each other? And it is for seeking clarification on this clause that acting secretary of the board, Amitabh Choudhary, is learnt to have moved court.
The new BCCI constitution says, a person “shall be disqualified” from being an office-bearer/IPL governing council member/BCCI committee member/BCCI’s representative to the ICC if he/she among others “has been an Office Bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years or of a State Association for a cumulative period of 9 years”…
The apex court in its orders on January 20, 2017 and March 24, 2017 had clarified that the maximum tenure of an office-bearer, the BCCI and state association combined, would be 18 years – nine plus nine —in total. “If a person has held the post of office bearer in respect of a State Association for a period of nine years, he will not be disqualified to contest for the post of office bearer of the BCCI,” the court orders had said. The lack of clarity on the issue has remained from the time the Lodha committee had originally asked for the tenures of BCCI officials to be limited to three years of three terms each.
Even the Supreme Court’s order on August 9 mentions the respective tenures at BCCI and state levels separately under the topic ‘election and term of office bearers’.
“No person shall hold the position of an office bearer in any state association, regardless of post, for a period in excess of nine years in the aggregate” and “No person shall hold the post of office bearer in BCCI, regardless of post, for a period in excess of nine years in the aggregate,” it reads.
When asked about the matter following the CoA meeting in Delhi on Monday, committee chairman Vinod Rai insisted on not wanting to give the “BCCI interpretation of the clause” since the matter was now in court.
“The order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court is exceedingly clear. There’s no two ways about that. However, since some people have approached the court, I don’t want to give the BCCI interpretation of it. The BCCI doesn’t give interpretation to these legal issues. It is for the states to follow them. I don’t want to talk about it upfront because this issue has been raised in the court. Let it be clarified by the court if the court deems it necessary to clarify,” he said.
When pressed about his own understanding of the issue, Rai said, “We have a certain understanding but I don’t want to state that understanding just now. Whatever we have to say on this issue we will do so in the court. The new constitution is very clear. It comes across very clearly. Can or can’t [a person disqualified at state wanting to become a BCCI office-bearer], I don’t want to get into. I would have if it had not been raised before the court,” he added.
A BCCI official, on the other hand, observed that the CoA had “taken liberties” with some other aspects too in the constitution, not restricted to the “nine-year clause” quandary. As per the new constitution, no office-bearer can be part of the IPL governing council or any BCCI or state association committee during the three-year cooling-off period, applicable after two consecutive terms of three years each in office.
“I don’t think this is in accordance with the Supreme Court order,” said the official on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Rai said the CoA plans to hold the BCCI elections within “90 days” of registering the new constitution.
First, the state associations will hold their respective AGMs/elections after adopting their new constitutions in sync with the cricket board constitution. Then they will nominate their representatives for the BCCI and accordingly the cricket board elections will be conducted.
“BCCI elections will happen in 90 days and that’s the deadline we have given ourselves. The moment the new body takes over, the COA will leave. We would do exactly what Justice Vikramjit Sen did (handover reins to DDCA’s elected body),” Rai told mediapersons here today.
His announcement effectively means that BCCI AGM-cum-elections will be held in the last week of November. “We have tried to ensure total transparency in the functioning and decision making process of the BCCI,” Rai added.