Carry out all Lodha committee recommendations: SC to BCCI

Chief Justice Thakur gave emphasis to suggestions like one State, one vote; three-year cooling off period after every tenure, restricted tenures for office-bearers, no more proxy voting and pruning of number of vice-presidents from five to one.

The Bench gave the BCCI time till March 3, the next date of hearing, to respond to the Justice Lodha panel report.   -  Reuters

Describing the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee report on overhaul of BCCI as “straight, rational and understandable”, the Supreme Court on Thursday sternly advised the cricket body to “fall in line” with the recommendations.

“These recommendations deserve respect. They have come from the most illuminated and respected members of the legal community. They have done extensive deliberations with all stakeholders. Fall in line and save the trouble,” Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur told the BCCI in a specially convened hearing

> Read the full Lodha report

The BCCI, represented by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, said the recommendations have to be extensively deliberated with 30-odd members and its implementation in full would give rise to “all sorts of complications”, including the losing of BCCI’s registration under the Tamil Nadu Registration Act. It said wrangles include the fate of the Board’s landed assets spread over the country.

Mr. Naphade said the Justice Lodha report has been distributed among members and a meeting of its legal committee has been fixed for February 7, 2016.

But the Bench, also comprising Justice F. M. I. Kalifulla, refused to be snowballed by the Board’s rendering of a list of “complications”.

“Then we have simple solutions. We will say that since BCCI has difficulties and impediments in respecting and implementing the recommendations, let the Lodha Committee continue and now help the Board to push through with the reforms... What do you say, Mr. Naphade?” Chief Justice Thakur asked.

The Chief Justice told the BCCI that there will be no second innings.

“The recommendations are straightforward, understandable and rational... if you can’t do it, we will ask the committee to steer you,” Chief Justice Thakur made the writing on the wall clear for the Board

At this point, Mr. Naphade said the BCCI should not be seen as “obstructionist” and it would come back with “concrete suggestions” after the meeting of the legal committee.

“Any transition, any change, come with whatever attendant problems,” Chief Justice Thakur said.

“Only the legal committee is meeting on the report? Not the BCCI?” Chief Justice Thakur asked at one point.

The Bench further asked the need to consult the 30-odd members of the BCCI at this stage when the Justice Lodha committee report is already a product of widespread consultations involving all parties involved.

The Bench was taken through the report by senior advocate Indu Malhotra, appearing for Cricket Association of Bihar, which had filed this application for an early hearing on the Justice Lodha report released on January 4, 2016.

She gave the Bench an eagle’s eye view of the report, including structural, electoral and legal changes recommended by the Supreme Court-appointed panel.

Chief Justice Thakur gave emphasis to suggestions like one State, one vote; three-year cooling off period after every tenure, restricted tenures for office-bearers, no more proxy voting and pruning of number of vice-presidents from five to one.

“Five vice-presidents had a reason. They all represented the five zones,” Mr. Naphade explained.

“Now there are no zones, so why do you need five vice-presidents?” Chief Justice Thakur asked.

The court further accepted the exoneration of former IPL COO Sundar Raman in the IPL betting controversy.

The Bench gave the BCCI time till March 3, the next date of hearing, to respond to the Justice Lodha panel report.

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