In an escalation of the battle between the BCCI and the Supreme Court, the latter barred the cricket board from releasing any funds to its state affiliates until they give an unconditional undertaking that they will comply with the organisational reforms as recommended by the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee and accept it both in “letter and spirit”.
In another development, Apex Court asked BCCI President Anurag Thakur to file a personal affidavit stating whether he has written to International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO David Richardson, asking the game’s world governing body to take a stand that the Supreme Court appointed Justice Lodha Committee amounted to government interference in the affairs of the BCCI.
A bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said no further amount in pursuance to the resolution passed at the BCCI annual general meeting (AGM) on 9 November last year or any subsequent decision taken by the board in this regard, “shall be disbursed to any state association except where the state association concerned passes a proper resolution to the effect that it is agreeable to undertake and to support the reforms as proposed and accepted by this court in letter and spirit.”
However, in the case of the state affiliates where the BCCI has already disbursed funds, the order said, “As regards the 13 state associations to whom the payment has already been disbursed, we direct that the state associations concerned shall not appropriate the said amount except after they have passed a resolution and filed an affidavit …”
In the case of any reluctance in filing the affidavit, the order said: “The amount disbursed to the state associations shall be invested by the associations in a term deposit subject to further directions of this court.”
Referring to the sequence of events that have taken place since July 18 that has been referred to the Justice Lodha Committee’s status report, the order said that it “prima facie gives an impression that the BCCI has far from lending its fullest cooperation to the committee adopted an obstructionist and at times a defiant attitude …”
The apex court’s order came after the BCCI appeared hesitant in filing an unconditional undertaking by Friday that it will hold back the funding of its state affiliates who would resist organisational reforms.
The Supreme Court also asked the BCCI president Anurag Thakur to file an affidavit.
“Mr Anurag Thakur, President of the BCCI shall file a personal affidavit whether he had asked the CEO of the ICC to state that the appointment of Justice Lodha Committee was tantamount to government interference in the working of the BCCI,” the order said in its third direction.
The court in its order said that the BCCI’s head of operations Ratnakar Shivaram Shetty shall, in the meantime, place on record a copy of the authorisation/resolution passed by the BCCI on the basis of which he has filed the affidavit supporting the response of the BCCI to the Lodha panel’s status report. The order said that he will have to do so in 10 days’ time.
Referring to some decisions of the BCCI which are contrary to the court’s directions, the order noted that “Despite continually claiming that all steps taken would be subject to the review petition filed (seeking review of the July 18 judgment), it transpires that the same is in defects … even as of date, and there has been no effort to rectify the same and have it numbered and listed.”
The court order came on an application by the Lodha Committee seeking that the present office bearers of the BCCI be superseded with immediate effect and appointment of a Panel of Administrators of the BCCI to ensure the smooth transition from the old to the new system as recommended by it. The Lodha Committee had also sought directions that all decisions of the BCCI taken after 18 June were contrary to the judgment of the top court and its (Lodha Committee) directives.
Last week, the BCCI’s special general meeting (SGM) had decided to accept some of the recommendations put forward by the Lodha Committee although they continued to resist the order regarding the removal of the BCCI top brass.
The BCCI SGM had also decided to form an apex council to look into the working of the BCCI as per the report submitted by the Lodha panel to the apex court. The representative of Comptroller and Auditor General will also be included as a member of the apex council as well as the Indian Premier League (IPL) governing council.
The formation of the players’ association and their representation in the committee was also agreed upon. The SGM authorised the BCCI CEO to contact the steering committee as proposed by the Lodha Committee and commence the formation of the cricket players association. The members were also unanimous in giving voting rights to associate members as per the guidelines of the International Cricket Committee (ICC). Puducherry will also to be granted associate membership of the BCCI.
The BCCI had warned that the Indian team may have to pull out of the 2017 edition of the Champions Trophy or next year’s IPL may have to abandoned if the recommendations by the Lodha panel are fully implemented.
The Champions Trophy is scheduled from 1-18 June next year while the IPL is likely to end in the last week of May.