The embattled Indian cricket board will meet for the second time in over a fortnight to discuss the future course of action regarding the implementation of Justice Lodha Committee recommendations. They will reportedly seek more time and clarity for its implementation from the Supreme Court. The state associations will also seek further clarity and directions from BCCI, regarding the changes to be adopted in their individual constitutions.
A BCCI office bearer remained evasive, saying, “the interim order pertained only to disbursement of funds to member associations.” However, THE WEEK has reliably learnt that members would look to “buy” some more time from the court, citing “the presence of two foreign teams” in India. New Zealand starts its five-match ODI series against hosts India on Sunday, while England are all set to arrive for a five-match test series in November.
However, speaking to THE WEEK, former chief justice of India, RM Lodha, said, “The idea is that the games should go on. Nothing will be done that will affect the game and tournaments from continuing.”
Focus will also be on the affidavit that BCCI president Anurag Thakur has been ordered to file in his individual capacity. He will have to clarify that he sought no letter from the International Cricket Council (ICC), asking them to term the presence of a CAG nominee on BCCI's management board, recommended in the Lodha report, as amounting to “government interference.”. Thakur, it is learnt, will state that he was only “following up on what his predecessor Shashank Manohar (current ICC chairman) had stated in his affidavit on the issue of government interference.”
This will upset the timelines issued by Lodha panel and agreed upon by BCCI. Speaking to THE WEEK, Justice Lodha said, “Most of the timelines are integrated . If one is shifted, other timelines are automatically affected. Once the recommendations were accepted by SC, they become the order of court. They are binding on all. BCCI cannot choose, unless the court modifies the order.”
An irked Lodha panel had filed a status report in the SC, wherein they had given details of the impediments created by BCCI regarding implementation of timeline agreed upon by the Lodha Panel and BCCI. Said Justice Lodha, “While giving the two-fold mandate, SC had directed BCCI and all concerned to work towards aiding the committee. Should there be any impediments, the committee may bring the fact to the notice of the court by way of a status report. We gave the timeline of 30th September -quite a few things had to be done by then. Meanwhile, two things happened. After BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke gave his compliance report, wherein he assured the committee that the timeline would be maintained except if there was any relief by way of review petition. On September 21, BCCI AGM took place, and decisions taken are exact opposite to what was recommended.” The status report had recommended the office bearers to be replaced by an Ad-hoc panel to ensure implementation of the SC order.
The brief agenda circulated by the BCCI to all its members for the Special General Body Meeting said that it will be meeting to “discuss the Interim Order of the Supreme Court”. That order dealt with restraining state associations (which had received 17.29 crores each from BCCI) from using the amount and not allowing the 12 remaining associations, who were yet to receive their share, from accessing these funds until they complied with implementing the administrative reforms in “letter and spirit”. All state units were ordered by the SC to furnish undertakings of compliance with the Lodha Panel report. The transfer of funds to state units was done “hurriedly” by BCCI after its SGM, said Lodha status report.
SC in its interim order stated that “..... in the implementation of the recommendations of the committee, BCCI appears to be non-cooperative in its attitude.” The BCCI had argued that it cannot force its own member associations to comply with the report. The SC bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur had observed that it would pass an order to state bodies to comply if the BCCI had no control over them. The matter is set to come up for hearing again when the court opens on Monday, after the Dussehra holidays.