COA: 'Ombudsman DK Jain to double up as BCCI’s Ethics Officer'

The COA, in its 10th Status Report filed on October 28, 2018, had requested the Supreme Court to appoint an Ethics Officer in addition to an Ombudsman for looking into the matters of Conflict of Interest.

Vinod Rai along with CoA member Diana Edulji leave the BCCI headquarters after a meeting.   -  PTI

As an ad hoc arrangement, the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) has obtained consent from Justice D.K. Jain (Retd) to carry out the work of the Ethics Officer.  Justice Jain — a Supreme Court judge from 2006 to 2013 — was last month appointed as the BCCI Ombudsman by the apex court.

The CoA on Thursday explained in a release that "Since transparency and measures to avoid conflict of interest are important aspects of the reforms process, there is a  need for an Ethics Officer to be appointed at the earliest, so that the provisions relating to conflict of interest under the BCCI Constitution be implemented immediately and complaints/references relating to conflict of interest can be considered and addressed  by a duly qualified person."

Justice R.M. Lodha who had authored the reforms in cricket report three years ago had said at the outset that "the functioning of the BCCI cannot be truly transparent  and independent without the creation of three new authorities essential to its functioning in its new avatar. One (The Ombudsman) to resolve internal conflicts independent of the BCCI, another (Ethics Officer) to administer the principles governing conflict  of interest, and a third (Electoral Officer) to ensure that the process of selecting office bearers is clean and transparent."

Touching upon the Ethics Officer’s role, Justice Lodha has said, "The monitoring of the principles of Conflict of Interest along with the Code of Behaviour of the BCCI  and any other such rules shall be done by an Ethics Officer. His powers include the laying down of additional guidelines or bye-laws on ethics, the initiation of investigation or adjudicatory proceedings and the award of warnings, fines, reprimands, suspensions  or other action as may be recommended to the BCCI.

"The BCCI and the IPL have codes of conduct and behaviour for Administrators, Team Officials, Umpires and Players both on and off the field, including in relation to match  fixing, betting, non-reporting of suspicious approaches, doping, etc. The approach of the BCCI in recent years in administering these Codes has not been encouraging, especially when powerful figures in the sport were involved."

The Lodha report, accepted by the Supreme Court three years ago, had stated that the Ethics Officer would be appointed at the BCCI’s AGM. But with the BCCI AGM unlikely to happen anytime soon, and the Supreme Court not responding to the CoA’s prayer in its 10th Status Report last October seeking the appointment of an Ethics Officer, the CoA requested the BCCI Ombudsman to discharge the duties of the Ethics Officer as well.

In fact, Justice Lodha in his report had said that the BCCI’s full members have the option to nominate their Ombudsman as the Ethics Officer and that "multiple States may have a common Ethics Officer for the sake of convenience and economy."