New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dealt a decisive blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by ordering the defiant board not to release funds to state associations till such bodies file
affidavit that they will abide by the Justice RM Lodha Committee recommendations.
Besides the interim order, the apex court also asked BCCI president Anurag Thakur to file a personal affidavit on details of his conversation with the International Cricket Council (ICC) chief regarding the Lodha recommendations.
It's worth noting that there were reports of BCCI president approaching the ICC, requesting to address a letter to the Indian board asking it to clarify whether the reforms of the Lodha Committee did not amount to government interference.
But ICC chief executive David Richardson, revealing the development, told a leading news channel that ICC chairman Shashank Manohar was reluctant to get involved in the matter unless "formally" requested to.
The next hearing has been posted for October 17, with the court taking breaks for a week on account of Dussehra holidays.
The top court, taking a strong stand, had given 24 hours time to provide an undertaking that it would accept the recommendations "unconditionally" by October 7.
#FLASH Supreme Court bars BCCI from releasing funds to state associations
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 7, 2016
And a verdict was supposed to be pronounced at 2 PM today in Lodha Committee’s plea, seeking to replace the current BCCI brass for impeding the panel’s work to usher in transparency and accountability in Indian cricket administration. At the moment, the matter is with the BCCI ombudsman and the Court refused to refer the matter to the Lodha committee.
In between, there won’t be any relief to the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) either with the body looking to be recognised by the BCCI – and unable to do so.
The court decided to pass an order on the implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations on Friday after the BCCI counsel declined to give an unconditional undertaking on Thursday that it will seek instructions to stop funds to state bodies and abide by the committee’s recommendations.
The BCCI on Thursday, however, faced the wrath of the apex court for its defiant attitude in implementing the directions of the Lodha committee to reform cricket in the country. The court also rebuked the cricket body for hurriedly disbursing around Rs 400 crore to state bodies.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said that BCCI’s defiant attitude will not lead anywhere. It further emphasised that transparency, fairness, and objectivity were most important aspects in all decisions including disbursal of funds by BCCI.
The bench said that BCCI cannot pass the buck and allow state bodies to defy reforms.
The court on Thursday called on BCCI not to belittle the Justice RM Lodha-led committee and directed it to resolve “any outstanding issues” with the panel.
Chief Justice TS Thakur stated, “Lodha panel is not an ordinary panel. It is headed by a former CJI. If you have any outstanding issues, go to the panel.”
The apex court observed that “either BCCI elects new administrators or the Lodha panel gives more time to BCCI to fall in line” and asked the cash-rich cricket body “will you implement the Lodha Committee recommendation or not?”
Earlier in the day, the BCCI in its response in the court had refuted allegations of non-compliance with the Lodha panel’s recommendations, saying that “records of 40 mails” exchanged with Justice Lodha would be submitted before the apex court.
“Records of 40 mails sent to Justice Lodha will be submitted to the court, not true that we didn’t respond to Committee’s mails,” the BCCI said in its response.
Last week, the Lodha committee had submitted its status report with the Supreme Court, accusing the BCCI of defying the apex court’s orders and stalling its proposed reforms. It also recommended the ouster of the entire top brass of the cash-rich cricket body.
In its report, the panel had stated that the BCCI was not implementing its recommendations aimed at reforming the country’s cricket governing body.
The move came after the BCCI appointed a five-member selection committee during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 21, which was in violation to the Lodha panel’s guidelines.
Tearing into the BCCI for ignoring the directions of the Lodha panel, the apex court had given the cricket governing body time till October 6 to respond to the panel’s report.
In its October 1 Special General Meeting, the BCCI had accepted many of the “significant recommendations” of the Lodha Committee, however, it excluded the important ones which have been bone of contention between the cricket body and the Lodha Panel.
The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by the 30-member committee, include one-state, one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and keeping to retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board.
Defending its action, the BCCI said, “a meeting comprising all members took place, and several recommendations of the Lodha Committee were rejected by voting”.
(With Agency inputs)