In less than a month after it removed BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke from their posts, the Supreme Court Monday appointed a four member-panel of administrators to manage the affairs of the cricket board and report on whether it has complied with the Lodha Committee’s recommendations.
The panel of administrators will be led by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, and have historian Ramchandra Guha, career banker and IDFC managing director Vikram Limaye, and former women’s Test cricketer and captain Diana Edulji as its members.
The administrators will take over the management of the BCCI, which was being conducted by the board’s CEO under the orders of the court while the panel was being constituted. Henceforth, the CEO and all other BCCI officials, concerned with the board’s daily affairs, will have to report to the administrators.
Observing that it wanted a “professional set of administrators”, a bench led by Justice Dipak Misra picked the four names from the lists adduced by amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium and Anil Divan and by the counsel for BCCI and state cricket associations.
The court virtually rejected the names of persons above 70 years of age, as suggested by the amicus, and also turned down, for now, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s plea to give a specific role to the Secretary of the Union Sports Ministry in the administration.
“Our judgment said no government official…(can be appointed as BCCI administrators). We will not go beyond our judgment at this stage,” said the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, as it declined to entertain the AG’s submission. The AG was representing Railways, Services and Association of Indian Universities, which have lost their status as full-time members and consequential voting rights in the BCCI.
It entrusted the panel of administrators with the task of ascertaining whether the BCCI has complied with the 16 point-recommendations of the court-appointed Lodha panel and if so, to what extent.
“We will go step by step. We will ask the administrators to examine which all recommendations have been complied with by the BCCI…and also those which have not…we will ask for a report from them within four weeks. For smooth administration of cricket, the administrators will have to look into how many recommendations have been complied with and also reasons why some of them was not followed,” said the bench, fixing the matter in March for further hearing.
The court clarified that the BCCI CEO will report to the panel of administrators, who will oversee all the affairs of the cricket body. “Let us see how sanguinely the BCCI has adhered to the recommendations of the Lodha Committee and then we will move forward…the judgment has to be implemented,” it added.
BCCI is currently without a president and secretary after Thakur and Shirke were removed by the top court on January 2. The court had also issued show-cause notices asking why contempt and perjury proceedings not be initiated against Thakur. According to the court’s order of July 18 last year, most BCCI office-bearers were ineligible to carry on and the Lodha panel had asked the court to remove them.
About the role of the Lodha Committee after appointing the administrators, the bench said the panel will still be in place and functional. The court said it might need their assistance in case of policy matters and if some “typical situations” arise in the future.
The court also allowed BCCI officials Amitabh Choudhary and Anirudh Chaudhry, along with Limaye, to represent the cricket body in the ICC meeting scheduled in the first week of February to discuss fiscal matters.