BCCI: Ban on proxy voting ends concentration of power

The Lodha panel’s suggestion for a ban on proxy voting, which has now won the stamp of authority of the apex court, was motivated by its push to bring a uniformity of structure among the State cricket bodies, transparency in functioning and as an iron-clad restriction in the tenures of office-bearers some of whom had crossed 70, who were powerful or even ministers in the government.

Rajendra Mal Lodha... saviour of Indian cricket.   -  PTI

The Supreme Court did not deem it even necessary to justify Chief Justice R. M. Lodha Committee’s recommendation to end proxy voting in State cricket administration.

READ: >Full text of Supreme Court verdict

Instead, the judgment upholds the panel’s suggestion to end the practice of proxy voting — a loophole exploited by cricket administrators and has led to a concentration of power with a few powerful in its entirety.

Former Chief Justice Lodha explains that proxy voting is a surreptitious process by which members do not even come for casting their vote in person, but hand over the right to vote on their behalf to an interested party in the election on a platter to do as the latter thinks wise.

The benefits of proxy voting extends to a powerful miniscule within the State cricket bodies and it is they who go on to hold top positions in BCCI, thus wielding power over the entire cricketing future of the country.

The panel’s suggestion for a ban on proxy voting, which has now won the stamp of authority of the apex court, was motivated by its push to bring a uniformity of structure among the State cricket bodies, transparency in functioning and as an iron-clad restriction in the tenures of office-bearers some of whom had crossed 70, who were powerful or even ministers in the government.

The judgment underlines that change at the helm of Indian cricket administration has to happen no matter the cost.

“'Change' it is famously said is all that is constant in the world. And yet the world hates change, no matter, it is only change that has brought progress for mankind,” Chief Justice Thakur says at the very beginning of his judgment.

In another snub to the select persons who have ruled over cricket in the country, the court classifies them into two: patrons seeking to promote the sport and others who seek to promote themselves with no particular attention being paid to cricket itself.

The court points to how the rot has spread over the years from the State cricket bodies to the BCCI, and the need of the hour is to run cricket and its finances professionally.

“The committee has recorded a finding that with an individual-centric constitution the reins of cricket’s richest and arguably most powerful national body remains mired in controversy and seems to have strayed from its chosen path,” the apex court points out.

To BCCI’s reasoning that the game has flourished because of the blessings of government ministers and civil servants, the court responds with sarcasm.

“We do not think that the game flourishes in this country because any minister or civil servant holds office in the State Associations or BCCI. We also do not find any basis for the argument that unless the ministers and civil servants are allowed to hold office in the State Association or in the BCCI they will refuse to do what is legitimately due to the game for its development and promotion. Nothing which is not due to the game or is not legitimate need be done by any minister or civil servant,” Chief Justice Thakur hits back.

Those ministers and civil servants who passionately love the game would do whatever is possible within the four corners of the law to help cricket flourish even without holding any office in the BCCI or the State Associations, the apex court observes.