Govt wants SC to pause order on appointment of COAs

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked a three-judge Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra to hold its order appointing a Committee of Administrators to run the BCCI on a daily basis as the government is proposing a "wholistic measure" in the nature of a legislation or a State order to fortify the various sports associations with "some autonomy".

The Centre told the Supreme Court that it is mulling a legislation or an executive order to clothe sports bodies with more autonomy.

Even as sportspersons and Olympians hail the Supreme Court-appointed Justice R. M. Lodha panel's reforms in the BCCI and want to implement them in the National Sports Development Code, the Centre on Tuesday told the apex court that it is mulling a legislation or an executive order to clothe sports bodies with more autonomy.

READ: >Pawar, other BCCI members backed Shashank Manohar on ICC changes

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi asked a three-judge Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra to hold its order appointing a Committee of Administrators to run the BCCI on a daily basis as the government is proposing a "wholistic measure" in the nature of a legislation or a State order to fortify the various sports associations with "some autonomy".

National impact

Mr. Rohatgi indicated that drastic changes in membership patterns and administrative mechanisms, as seen in BCCI's case, has not only a national impact but also affects the image of Indian sports administration, internationally.

The submission of the Attorney-General, who represents three BCCI members — Railways, Indian association of varsities and the tri-services of the armed forces, came immediately after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for some State cricket associations, brought attention to an application filed by amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium that the State associations should be "taken over" if they do not undertake to comply with the Lodha reforms.

> Read: Centre and SAI forced to take a stand on Lodha recommendations

The Bench was hearing the specific issue of appointing the administrative committee for the BCCI, based on a confidential list of names suggested by Mr. Subramanium and senior advocate Anil Divan.

"This appointment of administrators should be held back for two weeks. Problems and precedent that it (appointment of committee of administrators) would create is not only domestic in nature but it would permeate to the international arena," Mr. Rohatgi said.

BCCI, a private body

Referring to the Zee telefilms judgment of the Supreme Court, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that the apex court had already declared the BCCI as a private body.

"If interventions are made into the internal affairs of private bodies, tomorrow private bodies dealing with art, films, etc, all walks of life will not be spared.... There will be international ramifications. This case has far-reaching consequences, the judgment and subsequent orders have to be re-looked," Mr. Rohatgi submitted.

READ: >BCCI trying to convene meeting on Thursday

"But where were you when we heard the matter at length? Why did you not intervene earlier?" Justice Misra retorted at Mr. Rohatgi, who has only started appearing recently.

Latching on to Mr. Rohatgi's key point in his submissions, the Supreme Court asked: "You are also not very sure of how the legislation you may bring in would impact the international sports arenas, are you?"

"We are not trying to destroy the autonomy of sports bodies. We are removing the impure elements from them, so that they gain autonomy," Justice Misra addressed Mr. Rohatgi.

"Once we pen down an order, it is clear as day that it will be implemented," Justice Misra said.

Suggest names for committee

The court refused to keep its order for appointment of committee of the BCCI administrators in abeyance. However, it invited the government and some State associations to suggest names for the committee by January 30, the next day of hearing.

The court made it clear that it would not accept persons suggested by the amicus and Mr. Divan who are over 70 years old and, thus, disqualified as per the Lodha panel recommendations.

Meanwhile, the court allowed the BCCI to name three of its current office-bearers who are not disqualified by Lodha Committee recommendations, for the purpose of representing the BCCI at the ICC executive committee meeting in the first week of February, 2017.