BCCI committee to discuss reforms in Delhi meeting

The outcome of the CoA meeting in Mumbai and the BCCI’s seven-member committee meeting in New Delhi will be interesting, as the board has not yet taken action to honour the apex court’s order.

The BCCI has not yielded on its defiant position on the Lodha reforms.   -  Reuters

Appointed by the Supreme Court to enforce its order (of July 18, 2016) that validated the Justice Lodha Committee’s radical reforms in cricket, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has not been able to even nudge the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) into action to honour the apex court’s order.

The BCCI and its full members have only chosen to rebuff all attempts made, first by Justice R. M. Lodha and his colleagues in Justices (Retd.) Ashok Bhan and R. V. Raveendran and thereafter by the CoA comprising Vinod Rai, Vikram Limaye and Diana Edulji. The CoA — and in particular, Rai — has got flak from Justice Lodha and from Ramachandra Guha, who resigned from the CoA, for not pursuing the January 2, 2017 order.

Sourav Ganguly, a member of the seven-member committee, is not likely to be physically present at the New Delhi meeting. The former India captain, who is scheduled to attend an MCC meeting in London on July 3, may take part in the Saturday’s meeting through Skype.

On its part, the CoA may have been forced to walk the tight rope, with the Supreme Court not responding to the three Status reports it has submitted. The CoA went to the extent of asking the members to point out two or three issues that it deemed difficult to implement; this itself was wrong according to observers, who reasoned that the Supreme Court order was clear, as it gave the CoA the mandate to enforce its order.

A handful of officials — including the BCCI acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary, Abhay Apte (president, Maharashtra Cricket Association), Sourav Ganguly (Cricket Association of Bengal), Avishek Dalmia (NCC, Kolkata), Anand Jaiswal (President, VCA), Rajeev Shukla (UPCA) — believed, leading to the SGM on June 25, that confrontation would not take them anywhere and were prepared to accept the Lodha reforms with some modifications.

‘Spoilsport’

But as an administrator said: “There were too many who played the spoilsport.”

The same administrator pointed fingers at former BCCI Presidents, N. Srinivasan, Anurag Thakur and former Secretary, Ajay Shirke (all barred by the Supreme Court directly) for the inability of the SGM to make any progress on the matter.

The CoA has been kept abreast of what happened at the SGM. It has heard the near three-hour audio and has been in consultation with legal people to prepare the fourth Status it will submit to the Supreme Court, which will resume hearing the BCCI versus Cricket Association of Bihar case on July 14. The CoA has told the BCCI and its members that it would even go to the extent of telling the Supreme Court to register the new Constitution with the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Societies.

While the CoA will meet in Mumbai with CEO Rahul Johri, the seven-member committee delegated to look into the Lodha reforms will meet again in New Delhi. Last September, the Supreme Court bench said: “The SC will not allow BCCI to defy court orders. We will pass appropriate orders to set you right. You (BCCI) are not a law unto yourself. Fall in line, otherwise we will make you fall in line.”

Unperturbed

The BCCI and its full members have remained unperturbed for 17 months, and for almost a year after the Supreme Court validated the Lodha reforms on July 18, 2016. The acting secretary, Choudhary is optimistic and Justice Lodha has been scathing. “The BCCI met on Feb. 19, 2016 to consider the Lodha recommendations and the then Secretary (Thakur) has already filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court stating the difficulties. Then the BCCI considered the reforms point by point on October 1, 2016. The States too have filed petitions. So what’s the seven-member committee going to do tomorrow?,” was a very blunt remark by a BCCI official.

The outcome of the CoA meeting in Mumbai and the BCCI’s seven-member committee meeting in New Delhi (with Niranjan Shah being invited as special invitee) will be interesting.

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