COA set to usher in a new era for the BCCI

After nearly nine decades, the Board of Control for Cricket in India will be led by a Committee of Administrators, an eventuality that will be set in motion when the Supreme Court nominates personnel for the committee in an order on Thursday.

It is understood that many are actually lobbying for a position in the new Committee of Administrators, which will oversee the BCCI’s administration through its CEO.   -  AFP

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is all set for a new innings. After nearly nine decades, it will be led by a Committee of Administrators (COA), which will be set in motion when the Supreme Court nominates personnel to the committee via an order on January 20. This will be as per the recommendations of the senior counsel and amicus curiae, Gopal Subramaniam, and senior counsel Anil B. Divan.

Read: >Names in the reckoning for BCCI COA

The Supreme Court's order of January 2 and January 3 stated that the COA will oversee the BCCI’s administration through its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and that “it will have the power to issue all appropriate directions to facilitate due supervision and control.” The order also stated that the COA will “ensure that the directions contained in the judgment of this Court, dated 18 July 2016 (accepted and with modifications), are fulfilled and to adopt all necessary and consequential steps for that purpose.”

The apex court’s statements were in response to the third Status Report submitted by the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee that authored the cricket report which recommends radical reforms.

> Read: Supreme Court to suggest names for Committee of Administrators on January 20

Thursday’s order of the apex court will be a far cry from a queer episode that took place twelve-and-a-half years ago. Then, the Madras High Court-appointed interim administrator for the BCCI, Justice S. Mohan, accompanied by a concierge staff of the Taj Mahal Hotel, had to stage a hasty retreat; the BCCI declared a one-day holiday for its staff on that particular Saturday and the gates were locked at the old BCCI office at the North Stand, Cricket Club of India (CCI).

“My good wishes are always with the Indian team. I love cricket. But they (BCCI) have prevented me from taking over as the Interim Administrator. The doors are locked and I have been prevented from taking charge. If this is the way a former Supreme Court judge is being treated, you can draw your own conclusions. The High Court has stayed the newly elected office-bearers from functioning. I have come here out of respect for the High Court, to meet all the people concerned with the BCCI, inform them of the scope of the High Court order and to have discussions with the BCCI council,” Justice Mohan had said then.

BCCI faces the music

From Friday (October 8, 2004), when the Madras High Court had stayed the new BCCI committee from carrying out its duties, to Monday (October 11), when the BCCI got the Madras High Court order quashed at the Supreme Court, it all appeared a comical show, but the latest confrontation with the apex court has compelled the BCCI to face the music for not implementing the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations.

On January 2, 2017, the Supreme Court named senior counsel and amicus curiae, Gopal Subramaniam,and senior counsel Fali S. Nariman to suggest suitable names for the COA, but following the latter’s decision to withdraw because he had appeared for the BCCI in 2009, the Court substituted him with another senior counsel Anil B. Divan. The court asked the two senior counsels to revert within two weeks and said that the matter would be listed for January 19 (which was changed to 20). It also stated that “the role of the Justice R. M. Lodha Committee shall hereafter be confined to overall policy and direction on such matters as may be referred by this court.”

Two days ago, Justice Lodha, who was in the city in connection with the 97th birth anniversary of the late eminent jurist, Nani Palkhivala, hinted that there could be layers of administrators and that fresh timelines would be given to the BCCI and its full members to amend their Memorandum of Association (MOA) and Rules and Regulations in line with the recommendations made by his committee.

The name of Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, who probed the IPL malpractices and supervised the India-South Africa Test match at the Ferozeshah Kotla in 2015, has been doing the rounds for a top position in the COA.

Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam had proposed the names of former Union Home Secretary, G. K. Pillai, former India cricketer Mohinder Amarnath and former CAG chief Vinod Rai for an independent panel of administrators. Initially, the Lodha Committee had proposed the names of Anil Kumble, Mohinder Amarnath, Diana Edulji, and G. K. Pillai as convenor for the Steering Committee to form the players’ association. The latest names on the grapevine are Aunshuman Gaekwad and Shishir Hattangadi.

It is understood many are actually lobbying for a position in the COA!

With regard to the size of the committee, it’s a matter of conjecture...it could be three, six or nine.