Justice Lodha talks BCCI elections amid 'tinkered' reforms

Former Chief Justice of India R.M Lodha feels the reforms have been “tinkered” with; “many core recommendations have been affected.”

Former CJI R.M. Lodha feels some of the recommendations by his committee have been affected due to misinterpretation.   -  FILE PHOTO/R.V. MOORTHY

The chief author of the Reforms in Cricket Report, former Chief Justice of India, Rajendra Mal Lodha, expressed happiness that the BCCI election is going to place after all. But he’s also sad that the reforms report accepted by the Supreme Court has been tinkered with; not in the spirit of the reforms as suggested by him and retired Supreme Court justices Ashok Bhan and R.V. Raveendran in 2016.

In an exclusive chat with Sportstar, the former CJI said: “Enough tinkering has taken place.”

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has taken the reforms process to the home stretch. How would you sum it up?

The BCCI election is going to take place, it’s a moment of happiness. But things are otherwise in bad shape, the way the associations have actually chosen their president and office bearers. Hopefully the election is being held as per our recommendations and as per the Supreme Court’s judgment. Hope there is not much tinkering, because enough tinkering has already taken place in the last three years.

The principal judgment of the Supreme Court of July 18, 2016 has been whittled down ?

Yes, many core recommendations have been affected. Some have been affected due to misinterpretations and some have been affected by the modifications of the court. So as I said, there has been tinkering on a lot many clauses. So obviously you won’t have the reforms that we suggested in our report which was accepted by the Supreme Court. Over a period of time, the report has been misinterpreted in a manner that we did not want to happen. The only positive thing in this gloomy picture is that after all the election is taking place. It may not be in the spirit of the reforms, but it may not be strictly in the legal structure we suggested. The election is taking place, but by this time the second election should be taking place. Three years have been lost, one entire term has been lost in tossing up, down, left and right.

The 9-councillor Apex Council is in place though...

The Apex Council is the main governing body. It’s structure remains the same, a substantial portion of the governing structure has been retained.

But the one state, one member, one vote rule has been changed by the court order, and so is the cooling of period...

Well, all these have been diluted. The cooling off period is gone because of misinterpretation or absence of appropriate interpretation. Then the three bodies —Railways, Services and All India Universities — they have been made regular members. The Players Association coming into existence is a positive. The players will be stakeholders and part of the policies and governance.

The September 20 order further changed the principal judgment on August 9, 2018. It said disqualification only for office bearers and not for those who have been in power as Committee Members for a long time...

I am not aware of the September 20 (2019) order. I don’t know what the Supreme Court has said and the idea behind it. Our report is very clear that the disqualification applies to all who matter. I would not like to comment until I see the order.

Initially everybody thought it was radical reforms, but it’s not so now?

Things have changed, but as I said, the old guards are not there. Some people who hold positions in public office, like the ministers, bureaucrats who held positions in districts and the BCCI, they are all gone. Then the age cap of 70; these can be said to be radical. Certain reforms which were radical, continue to remain so and certain reforms which were radical have been diluted, and some may not remain radical as we wanted.