The Justice Lodha Committee on Wednesday sought the removal of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office-bearers, telling the Supreme Court that the country’s apex cricketing body was not complying with its recommendations on organisational reforms.
As the Lodha Committee’s counsel Gopal Shankarnarayan handed over the panel’s report to the apex court, the bench headed by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur observed, “If the BCCI thinks that they can defy the court’s order and take the law into their own hands, they are mistaken.”
Having observed this, the bench said it will hold a hearing on October 6 regarding the Lodha panel’s report and the suggestion that the BCCI office-bearers should be removed en bloc.
The report by the Lodha panel had accused the BCCI of stalling reforms at every stage and violating the directions issued by the apex court.
Complaining that the BCCI had ignored orders of the court and its recommendations on several issues, the Lodha panel sought action against the board’s top brass, including BCCI President Anurag Thakur, for violating the apex court’s orders.
“The BCCI thinks it is law unto itself. We know how to get our orders implemented. BCCI thinks it is the lord. You (BCCI) better fall in line or we will make you fall in line. The conduct of the BCCI is in poor taste,” Chief Justice Thakur asserted.
The Lodha Committee, which was appointed by the Supreme Court to clean up cricket administration in India following corruption and match-fixing scandals, had earlier submitted its report advising far-reaching changes in the way the game is run in the country.
The recommendations by the panel sought to define stringent eligibility criteria for BCCI office-bearers and set limits to their tenure. Ministers and bureaucrats currently holding office will not to be allowed to hold BCCI positions, neither would those officials holding office in their state associations or those above 70 years of age.
The Lodha Committee also advised that there should be five elected office-bearers — president, secretary and one vice-president instead of the current five, treasurer and joint-secretary. The panel also proposed that these officials should serve no more than three three-year terms and that there must be a “cooling-off” period between terms to prevent them from holding office for several years at a stretch.
The Lodha panels report had also recommended that the BCCI Working Committee must be replaced with a nine-member apex council which will include representatives from the players’ community, including one woman.
There was also a proposal that a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General should be included in the apex council to keep an eye on how the BCCI was utilising its financial resources.
The Supreme Court had accepted all these recommendations and had asked the BCCI to implement them.