Soon after filing his nomination for the post of president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly described the last three years at the sport’s ruling body in the country as “emergency-like” as the Committee of Administrators (CoA), appointed by the Supreme Court, performed the role of the policymaking Apex Council.
The directions issued by the CoA were questioned by the BCCI members. It became a constant source of irritation and a time came when the latter chose the option of the democratic process and took charge of the affairs of the Board. This happened on October 23.
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Ganguly, who believes in going beyond a sabre-rattling way of functioning, has said several things – cricketing as well as non-cricketing. But the former India captain gave no hint of going for the jugular in his team’s readiness to move an amendment to the BCCI constitution that the CoA drafted and the Supreme Court accepted on August 9, 2018.
The first Apex Council of the BCCI has said in no uncertain terms that it’s not practical to go to the Supreme Court for approval for amendments to the constitution, and its members say it is their right alone to bring about changes.
In amendments proposed to its members, Jay Shah, the new BCCI secretary and son of Union home minister Amit Shah, said that the principal judgement of July 18, 2016, and the Lodha committee reforms do not make it mandatory for the BCCI to approach the Supreme Court and seek its approval for amendments adopted at the board’s general meetings.
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But the August 9, 2018 judgement of the bench comprising justices Dipak Misra, A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud said: “We approve the above clauses. We are emphatically of the view that once the draft constitution has been approved by this court, any amendment should not be given effect to without the leave of this court.” This is mentioned in the BCCI Constitution.
The other amendments that the BCCI has proposed at its annual general meeting, which will be held in Mumbai on December 1, include the need to modify the cooling-off period clauses, making them applicable only to the president and secretary; removing the disqualification clause for nominating a person to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and similar organisations; and, most importantly, vesting powers with the Apex Council and secretary, who is elected, and make professional managers take directions from him.
The Apex Council, headed by Ganguly and Shah, seems to be inclined to nominate former BCCI president and ICC chairman N. Srinivasan as a director on the ICC Board. The ICC has considerably changed the eligibility rules to become a member-director and it may have conveyed the same to Ganguly and Shah.
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The BCCI members have at least in one special general meeting in 2017 discussed each Lodha committee-recommended clause and opposed a number of them as well as the board’s claim on the percentage of the money it should receive from the ICC’s revenue for the 2016-2023 cycle.
There should not be any difficulty for the amendments to go through with or without modifications, but the moot point is how the Supreme Court will respond to the amendments. Should they be accepted, a sports bill amenable to sports federations may not be necessary to offset the tenure rules.