The Supreme Court’s ruling affirming the Lodha committee recommendations will change the landscape of how cricket will be run in the country. The apex court’s verdict on Monday which ensures one post per person in the BCCI is seen as a step in the right direction which will ensure transparency in the running of the cricket body.
“This decision (one post per person) is the best thing that could have happened to the BCCI. There are so many persons in the board who are holding multiple posts and exercising a lot of unnecessary influence. With the apex court’s ruling, all this comes to an end and I think the one post per person will go a long way in restoring the image of the beleaguered board,” said a former BCCI official. “This means that the likes of President Anurag Thakur (who also holds the post of the top post of the Himachal Cricket Association) will have to relinquish one of his posts,” said a BCCI official on the condition of anonymity.
Another important recommendation which the BCCI official felt was the fact that no minister or government official can be an office-bearer of the national cricketing body. “This in effect means that SC wants the cricket body to be administered by cricketers themselves or sportspersons. This according to me is one of the important factor which will ensure smoothness in the running of the board,” said the official.
“It must be mentioned here that Chief Justice Thakur pronounced in his judgement, quashing the argument that since ministerial and bureaucratic support and patronage has helped the BCCI in running its affairs in the past, they should be allowed to continue, lest the game suffers, has not impressed us. We do not think that the game flourishes in this country because any minister or civil servant holds office in the state associations or the BCCI,” the CJI said.
Further, the judgement said that the apex court was “unimpressed” by the contention that “favours which the BCCI receives will disappear just because a minister or civil servant is not an office bearer”. “Nothing which is not due to the game or is not legitimate need be done by any minister or civil servant. But we have no manner of doubt that what is legitimately due to the game will not be denied to the game merely because ministers or civil servants do not happen to be office bearers,” the judgement said.
Another major setback for the seasoned administrators/veterans in the BCCI is the apex court’s laying down the age cap of 70 years for officials. As a result of this, this judgement would spell the end of the road for some of the senior veterans like former BCCI chief N. Srinivasan and Sharad Pawar. While Pawar is currently 75 years old, Srinivasan is 71 and both are presidents of their respective state boards – Mumbai Cricket Association and the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association respectively. “This recommendation effectively kills their chances of contesting for any BCCI post,” said a BCCI official.
Another major observation of the Supreme Court was that there would be a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the BCCI. “This has a major ramification as it means that the each and every penny spend by the cricket board would have to go through the CAG and be accounted for. There can be no more arbitrary disbursement of funds to certain state associations as this will have to be cleared by the CAG. I think this move will stem the major corrupt financial irregularities of the board,” said the BCCI official.
It must be mentioned here that former players Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi and cricket administrators had approached the apex court with regard to the implementation of the Lodha panel recommendations.
However, on the question of bringing the BCCI within the ambit of Right to Information Act, the court left it for the Parliament to take a call. It also refused to interfere with the BCCI in respect of awarding broadcasting rights and the funding of the state associations.