Supreme Court slams BCCI for defiant attitude towards reforms; threatens to pass order in 24 hours
The apex court decided to pass an order on the issue of implementation of directions of the committee headed by former CJI Lodha tomorrow.
New Delhi: Slamming the BCCI for its "defiant attitude," Supreme Court on Thursday said it will pass an order tomorrow to make the cash-rich board "fall in line" to adopt Lodha Committee's directions and stop disbursing funds to state associations reluctant to reform, raising questions over the fate of the ongoing domestic cricket matches.
"Let there be no domestic matches in that case," a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said after BCCI's counsel Kapil Sibal said if payments to the state associations are stopped, the domestic season would be at stake as 18 state bodies have written to the Board that they cannot hold these matches which have already started.
"You must not create a defiant attitude. This is not going to lead you anywhere," the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said emphasising that transparency, fairness and objectivity were the most important aspects in all decisions including disbursal of funds by BCCI.
Expressing anguish over BCCI "hurriedly" disbursing about Rs 400 crore to state bodies which were reluctant to accept the recommendations for reforms, the bench said, "we are being forced into a situation that they are asking for our interference" with the Lodha panel also recommending "superseding" of the existing office-bearers with court- appointed administrators of "impeccable integrity".
The apex court decided to pass an order on the issue of implementation of directions of the committee headed by former CJI Lodha tomorrow after the counsel for Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) declined to give an "unconditional undertaking by tomorrow" that it will seek instructions to stop funds to the state bodies and abide by the panel's recommendations.
When the bench asked "are you going to give an unconditional undertaking tomorrow after seeking instruction," Sibal said "it is very difficult."
"Then we will pass an order," said the bench, which was also pained at BCCI's stance that the verdicts and directions of the apex court and the Lodha panel were contrary to statutory provisions.
After senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, assisting as amicus curiae, drew attention to the BCCI's averments in its affidavit, the bench opined that its reluctance to accept them was part of a "strategy" or "design".
He also referred to constitutional provisions dealing with Supreme Court judges and criticised the board for roping in Justice (Retd) Markandey Katju who made "inappropriate remarks" against the judgement of the apex court and the deliberations of the Justice Lodha committee, to undermine the dignity of the apex court.
"Once you become judge of the Supreme Court, you become part of the institution to which there is dignity attached," he said, asking "can a former judge, once a colleague, can speak about the judgements", talk to media or hold press conferences.
Though the BCCI received the comments of Justice Katju in writing, it later distanced itself from him but used his views as an averment in the affidavit, Subramaniam said, adding that the apex cricket body was liable for both civil and criminal contempt for disobeying the binding judgement.
"Can a body find out ways and means to subvert the judgement. The answer is 'No'. It is a civil as well as criminal contempt. A binding judgement of this court cannot be disobeyed and subverted in such a manner till the time it is either modified or reviewed," he said while stressing that all decisions of BCCI, post apex court judgement, be declared "non est (null and void)."
The senior advocate said the apex court should pass an order that BCCI office-bearers should be "superseded" by court-appointed administrators of "impeccable integrity".