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BCCI, Lodha Committee and Supreme Court

BCCI, Lodha Committee and Supreme Court brings its netizens a detailed report on BCCI, Lodha Committee and Supreme Court. The article is  culled from The article is  in every detail and is penned by Nagaraj Gollpudi. Read on ………

Court deadline looms over BCCI

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of implementing a majority of the Lodha proposals, setting in motion a major revamp of the way cricket is run in India

On Monday afternoon, the Supreme Court passed its final order on the case involving the BCCI and its implementation of the Lodha Committee’s recommendations.

The Court had appointed the committee in January 2015 to look into the functioning of the Indian board and suggest changes to its constitution.

On January 4, 2016, RM Lodha, the former Chief Justice of India, unveiled the three-man committee’s recommendations, which shook the hierarchy of BCCI and its member associations. Consequently, the BCCI and various state associations approached the Supreme Court raising objections to the recommendations.

The final order of the two-judge bench comprising TS Thakur, the Chief Justice of India, and Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla, signed off on most of the Lodha proposals, setting in motion a major revamp of the way cricket is run in India.

The following is a summary of the case from the time the committee was appointed.

Apr 14, 2015 – 82 questions for BCCI

The Lodha panel sends an 82-point questionnaire to the BCCI to understand how it functions and how it runs cricket in India

The questions were split into eight sections and covered an exhaustive set of topics from the role of the BCCI’s stakeholders to the board’s election processes, the basis and formation of its various committees, player welfare, conflict of interest and transparency in the IPL’s functioning.

Jan 4, 2016 – Sweeping reforms unveiled

The Lodha committee recommends a complete overhaul of Indian cricket – from the very top down to the grassroots – affecting all its stakeholders.

With special focus on BCCI’s governance and administrative structures, rather than its cricketing operations, the most important set of recommendations aims at transforming the board’s power structure. The committee recommends one-state-one-vote, suggests clear and stringent eligibility criteria for the board’s office bearers and sets limits on their tenure in office. Serving ministers and bureaucrats or those above 70 years of age are not allowed to hold positions on the board nor in their state associations.

Setting up of a players’ association

Taking cognizance of the fact India are the only country to not have a players’ body, the Lodha committee recommends the formation of a players’ association.

A four-member standing committee chaired by former union home secretary GK Pillai and comprising former India cricketers Mohinder Amarnath, Anil Kumble and Diana Edulji, is appointed to “identify and invite all eligible ex-cricketers to be members, to open bank accounts, receive funds from the BCCI, conduct the first elections for office bearers, communicate the names of BCCI player nominees to the board.”

Jan 7, 2016 – BCCI takes the first steps to acknowledge Lodha report

Three days after the Lodha committee report became public, Anurag Thakur, BCCI secretary at the time, sends an e-mail to all state associations asking them to study the report, determine how it affects each of them individually and submit their findings to the board by January 31.

Feb 4, 2016 – Supreme Court sets deadline for BCCI

Having noticed the BCCI and the state associations delaying their formal response to the Lodha committee recommendations, the Supreme Court sets March 3rd as the deadline for the board to make their stance clear one way or another. “If you have any difficulty in implementing it [the reforms] we will have the Lodha Committee implement it for you,” Justice Thakur tells the BCCI counsel, a view he repeated several times 

Anurag Thakur and the BCCI had accepted some of the changes that were recommended, but were adamantly against others like the one-state-one-vote and an age cap on administrators © PTI

Feb 5, 2016 – BCCI continues to drag its feet

Without spelling his exact reservations, Thakur says the board is justified in taking time to study the Lodha committee’s report.

“We need to understand it is not a one-page report. It is a detailed report, which will have a lot of consequences on the working and the functioning of the BCCI. A committee has taken close to 12 months to come up with it. We are taking close to two months to discuss, debate, and after deliberations come to a consensus to implement that report.

“When the report came, I wrote a letter to all the state associations to call their meetings. Many state associations have already held their managing committee or working committee meetings. They are going to have their special general meetings before the BCCI’s special general meeting in the third week of February. So I think it is a due process. We are not slow at all. We are not shying away. We are not looking at any escape route.”

Two days later, the BCCI finally calls for an SGM to discuss the Lodha report

Feb 19, 2016 – BCCI points out ‘anomalies’ in Lodha report

More questions than answers arise when BCCI responds to the Lodha report. Its members cite “anomalies and difficulties” in implementing the recommendations. Thakur is asked to file an affidavit to counter the Lodha report in the Supreme Court.

Feb 22, 2016 – Mumbai Cricket Association approaches SC

The state associations prepare to fire salvos against the Lodha commmittee. Mumbai Cricket Association, one of the oldest members of the BCCI, files an intervention stating the one-state-one-vote recommendation hurts the MCA.

Mar 2, 2016 – BCCI details reservations against Lodha report

Two days before the Supreme Court deadline, the BCCI files its affidavit, stating it has implemented some of the recommendations – appointing an ombudsman, addressing the issue of conflict of interest and advertising for a chief executive officer, a chief financial officer and other top management positions – but also lists several it does not agree with – the one-state-one-vote rule, age cap of 70 years for an office-bearer or a board official, limits on an office bearer’s and restriction on advertisements during Tests and ODIs.

Mar 3, 2016 – Court takes exception to BCCI views

Although the Court says it will ask the Lodha committee to reconsider some of the suggestions, it does not take pleasantly to the BCCI’s continued reluctance to change.

On Thakur saying he was not consulted before the recommendations were finalised, the bench asks: “It was international news that we had formed the Justice Lodha committee to suggest reforms in cricket. The whole world knew it. Now you come to us and say the recommendations were a bolt from the blue for you and you were not consulted… What were you doing? Waiting at the fence for a written invitation?”

Responding to the BCCI counsel’s argument that a cap on advertisements during a match would “cripple” the board’s income, Justice Thakur asks: “Do you mean that your commerce should overtake the enjoyment of the game?”

Apr 5, 2016 – Court slams BCCI’s method of disbursing funds

Having asked the BCCI and its state associations for an audited account of their books over the last five years and finding disparities in the distribution of funds between members, the Court slams the Indian board. “You function like ‘show me the face; I will make the payment…’ [The] impression that one gets is that you are practically corrupting the persons by not demanding how the money is spent… [It’s] like the moment you want a vote and their hands will go up,” Justice Thakur says.

Apr 8, 2016 – ‘Are you refusing to be reformed?’

When BCCI counsel KK Venugopal says the board is beyond the purview of the Supreme Court since it is a trust, Justice Thakur counters, “What we understand is that you are suggesting that ‘I am answerable to Registrar of Societies. I will be accountable only to Registrar of the Society. I will be amenable to criminal law but I will not reform. Don’t ask me to reform.’

“Is it possible? What have you done? We have seen the allegations of match-fixing and betting. You have no control over these. But you give money in crores. The Lodha committee has said something. It has been said to make the functioning more transparent and visible and the effort is to reform the BCCI.”

Apr 19, 2016 – Court rebuffs BCCI take on one-state-one-vote

When counsel for Baroda Cricket Association says implementing the one-state-one-vote recommendation would lead to “enormous politics” within the board, the bench disagrees. “You are right. Seven votes will come to northeast where there is no cricket that we know [of]. But we don’t know the game of seven votes. Can you elaborate what the politics will be?”

Apr 26, 2016 – BCCI ‘running a prohibitory regime’

The Court continues to use stern language with regard to BCCI and its state associations. “You are running a prohibitory regime, which is spread across the country,” it says. “You have complete monopoly. If any cricket club or association wants to do anything, we are least bothered. We are not here to reform every cricketing club. But if any institution which is discharging public duty like BCCI, then any organisation or association associated with it will have to reform itself.”

Apr 29, 2016 – Court firm on the age cap of 70 for administrators

“Why do you want to hold on to the reign for such a long time? Even the Supreme Court judges retire at 65,” Thakur tells Arvind Datar, senior counsel for the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). “You have been given five more years. You had a president [the late Jagmohan Dalmiya] who could not speak, could not communicate. Those who elected him [in 2015] did not see whom they were electing? These days, even in politics people are retiring.”

Saying the Lodha committee is competent and can perform the “surgery” to repair Indian cricket administration, the court tells the counsel for Odisha Cricket Association: “After a certain age they [people over 70] must retire and do something else. They cannot head a society managing sports.”

May 2, 2016 – ‘State associations will have to fall in line with Lodha reforms’

The Court makes it categorically clear that the BCCI and all of its state associations will have to implement the Lodha reforms.

“Once the BCCI is reformed it will go down the line and all cricket associations will have to reform themselves if they want to associate with it. The committee constituted in the wake of match-fixing and spot-fixing allegations was a serious exercise and not a futile exercise,” the two-judge bench says in response to an intervention plea filed by the Haryana Cricket Association stating the Lodha Committee’s remit was to only recommend changes.

May 3, 2016 – ‘BCCI constitution incapable of achieving transparency’

The Court says the BCCI constitution is “highly incapable of achieving the values of transparency, objectivity and accountability [such] that without changing its structure it can’t be done so.”

June 30, 2016 – SC decision on Lodha panel report likely in three weeks

The Supreme Court reserves its judgement in the case concerning implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations by the BCCI. There is to be no further hearing in the case and the two-judge bench will submit the written judgement to the concerned parties before July 22.

July 18, 2016 – SC accepts majority of the Lodha recommendations

The Supreme Court rules in favour of implementing a majority of the Lodha Committee proposals, and gives the BCCI between four and six months to implement them. Lodha, the court says, will oversee the implementation process.

July 20, 2016 – CAB, KSCA call off elections

The Lodha Committee asks the BCCI to direct all state associations to put their annual elections on hold. Consequently, the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) and the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) postpone their elections.

July 21, 2016 – Lodha Committee clarifies nine-year cap for state administrators

The Lodha Committee makes it clear that office bearers, across the BCCI and state associations, who have completed nine years in the job cumulatively stand disqualified and cannot contest for another term.

July 24, 2016 – Sharad Pawar announces he will step down as Mumbai Cricket Association president

Sharad Pawar becomes the first high-profile name to say he will step down as MCA president in accordance with the Lodha Committee recommendations.

August 2, 2016 – BCCI appoints legal panel to liaise with Lodha Committee

The BCCI’s working committee approves a new legal panel as a “single point interface for the BCCI to interact with the Justice Lodha Committee” during the implementation of the report. Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju is appointed head the panel, which also includes BCCI’s counsel Abhinav Mukerjee.

August 7, 2016 – Katju terms Supreme Court order “illegal”

Five days into his new role, Justice Katju calls the July 18 order of Supreme Court “unconstitutional and illegal”. “There has been violation of principles of the [Indian] Constitution. Under our Constitution, we have legislature, executive and judiciary. There is broad separation of functions. It’s the legislature’s prerogative to make laws. If judiciary starts making laws, one is setting a dangerous precedent,” he says. The following day, the BCCI files a review petition in the Supreme Court against the July 18 order.

August 9, 2016 – Lodha Committee issues first set of timelines

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke meets the Lodha Committee and says the board will follow the timelines set by the Committee. He also states that the board has already begun implementing reforms. The deadline for the first phase is September 30.

August 22, 2016 – BCCI announce AGM on September 21

The BCCI announces it will conduct the annual general meeting on September 21. Lodha Committee says the AGM is “meaningless” unless the BCCI implements the recommendations.

August 31, 2016 – Lodha Committee amends IPL Governing Council recommendatio

The Lodha Committee withdraws its recommendation to have nominees of two franchises sit on the IPL Governing Council on a rotational basis. The BCCI had earlier pointed out that this move could lead to conflict of interest, which the Court said was “evident”.

September 1, 2016 – Final set of deadlines for the BCCI

The Lodha Committee issues a second set of guidelines. The BCCI is directed to hold elections for the Apex Council – to replace the board’s highest-decision making body, the working committee – and conduct its AGM by December 15. The BCCI also has to form a fresh IPL governing council by December 30.

September 12, 2016 – ICC refuses to get involved in BCCI-Lodha tussle

ICC’s chief executive David Richardson says that BCCI president Anurag Thakur had asked the global body to send a letter, asking the world governing body to clarify whether the reforms of the Lodha Committee did not amount to government interference in the running of the Indian board. However ICC chairman Shashank Manohar asks BCCI to “formally” send the request in writing.

September 21, 2016 – BCCI defies Lodha Committee, pickes 5-member selection panel

The BCCI conducts its AGM and defies one part of the Lodha Committee’s order by picking a five-member selection pane for the men’s, women’s and junior teams as opposed to a three-member panel recommended by the Committee.

September 28, 2016 – Lodha Committee asks Supreme Court to ‘supersede’ BCCI top brass, Court warns the board

The Lodha Committee’s status report to the Supreme Court says that the BCCI has created “serious impediments” in the implementation of reforms and recommends that all existing office-bearers of the board be replaced by a caretaker panel of administrators.

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur warns the board to implement the recommendations. “BCCI thinks it is law unto itself. We know how to get our orders implemented. BCCI thinks it is the lord. You better fall in line or we will make you fall in line,” Thakur says, giving the board a week to respond.

The BCCI files a new application, pleading for the Court’s July 18 order to be suspended until the Court hears the board’s review and curative petitions against the mandatory implementation of most of the recommendations.

September 30, 2016 – BCCI misses first Lodha deadline

The BCCI misses the first deadline of September 30, and fails to adopt the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations at its SGM, which would trigger the implementation of the Lodha recommendations. Meanwhile two full members of the board, the Tripura Cricket Association and the Vidarbha Cricket Association, unanimously adopt the reforms. The board SGM is pushed to October 1.

October 1, 2016 – BCCI cherry-picks Lodha recommendations

At the SGM, the BCCI agrees to implement important recommendations, but key reforms – the age restriction of 70 years for board officials, the tenure cap of nine years with cooling-off periods, and the one-state-one-vote policy, among others – are missing from the list.

October 3, 2016 – Lodha Committee asks banks to halt two BCCI transactions

The Lodha Committee asks two Indian banks – Yes Bank and Bank of Maharashtra – not to disburse funds from the BCCI accounts to the state associations with regard to two financial decisions taken at the board’s emergent working committee meeting on September 30.

October 6, 2016 – BCCI given a day to fall in line

The Supreme Court asks the BCCI to submit an undertaking that it will “unconditionally” implement all the court-approved recommendations of the Lodha Committee by October 7. The court indicates that if the board fails to do so, its office bearers could be replaced with a panel of administrators.

Ocfober 7, 2016 – Supreme Court adjourns the next hearing to 17.10.2016

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo.