BCCI members surprised by apex court gesture

A select few, who have been part of the BCCI for many years, wonder why the court has sought their views.

By its order dated July 24, 2017, the Supreme Court had given clear indications that it was inclined to look at the  "One State, One Member, One Vote" policy.   -  SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY

Virtually the entire cricket administration in India  -  at the BCCI and the State level - which has vehemently opposed the radical Lodha reforms was pleasantly surprised when the apex court offered it another opportunity to come up with suggestions for the BCCI’s Draft Constitution.

A select few, who have been part of the board for many years, wonder why their views were sought when the court has already received suggestions from the current office bearers comprising acting president C.K.Khanna, acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer, Anirudh Chaudhry.

There is speculation that suggestions have been asked only on three specific policies; "One State, One Member, One Vote," reverting to the conventional five-member selection committees and the vexing variable full membership status of the three Ranji Trophy playing teams in Maharashtra (Mumbai, Maharashtra, Vidarbha), Gujarat (Gujarat, Saurashtra , Baroda), Services, Railways and non-Ranji Trophy playing members  All India Universities, Cricket Club of India and National Cricket Club.

READ: SC asks members for suggestions before finalising BCCI Constitution

The present members, though, would go to the Amicus Curiae, Gopal Subramanium with a bigger wish of removing the restrictions placed on the tenure clause (cooling off period of three years after each term of three years and an accumulated tenure of nine years), age cap of 70 and most importantly, the distribution of powers to the elected office-bearers and the CEO.

By its order dated July 24, 2017, the Supreme Court had given clear indications that it was inclined to look at "One State, One Member, One Vote" accepted by a CJI Bench comprising Tirath Singh Thakur and F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla on July 18, 2016.

The Court, while drawing up the agenda for a BCCI SGM scheduled last July, had said that "All concerned shall implement the recommendations of the Lodha Committee report as far as practicable, barring the issues which have been raised pertaining to membership, number of members of the selection committee, concept of associate membership, etc."

By another order served last October, the apex court had asked the three office-bearers, Khanna, Amitabh and Anirudh to give their suggestions on the recommendations they felt were not practical.

It also said that once the suggestions are submitted, the claims of Railways, Universities and Services and the other cricket associations, who are of the view that "One State, One Member, One Vote" should not be applicable keeping in view their contribution to the game of cricket, shall be considered.

Secretary Choudhary claiming the back of 13 members, listed three clauses in the "not practicable" category; they are  (1) Cooling off period each term of three years (2) Constitution of the Apex Council (3) Distribution of functions, powers and responsibilities between the elected office-bearers and the professional appointees.

The cumulative tenure clause would not allow the Gujarat Cricket Association president Amit Shah (BJP Chief and MP) who would complete nine years this September. Then Parimalbhai Nathwani would also go into cooling off period, having become GCA vice-president in January 2010. Among others, Jay Shah (son of Amit Shah) became the jt. secretary, GCA in September 2013 and he too would not be entitled to a straight second term.

Khanna and Chaudhry touched upon the rights guaranteed to the associations under 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution of India and said that they are not making any suggestions since the Supreme Court has decided to keep aside matters relating to membership, associate membership and the number of members in the selection committee.