The BCCI has put up a stout defence in favour of continuity of its office-bearers because of their exceptional skills in governing and marketing cricket in the last decade and more. It has also made public its antipathy to the three-year cooling-off period recommended by the Supreme Court-appointed Reforms Committee, chaired by Justice (Retd.) R. M. Lodha. This particular tenure clause blocks a potential candidate from being an office-bearer for two- to three-year terms in the proposed Apex Council (replacing the Working Committee).

For example, under the proposed rules, N. Srinivasan would have been disqualified (the word used by the Lodha Committee in its Reforms Report) from making a bid for the Secretary’s post after completing a three-year term as treasurer (2005-08) and thereafter for the president's post after he completed a three-year term as secretary (2008-11). (The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president had a continuous run of nine years.) On Sunday the newly-elected BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, actually named N. Srinivasan as one of the finest cricket administrators along with Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya.

ALSO READ: >Anurag Thakur takes over as BCCI President

Thakur himself has had a good run so far as a top-end BCCI office-bearer; he was joint secretary from 2011 to 2014 and under the amended bylaws that provided for a three-year straight term for all office-bearers (from October 2014), he was elected secretary in the delayed Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chennai in March 2015. These are not the only two recent instances; Madhya Pradesh’s Sanjay Jagdale was joint secretary from 2008 to 2011 and secretary from 2011 to 2013.

Clearly, Thakur’s decision to bring an abrupt end to his innings as secretary of the BCCI can be linked to the Reforms Committee recommendation for a three-year cooling-off period which thereby would have kept him out of the Apex Council (proposed) in the event of it coming into existence at the next BCCI AGM.

ALSO READ: >Gangulg backs Thakur

Another reason pointed out is that Thakur’s appointment to the Council of Ministers by the BJP Government at the Centre would have straightaway prevented him from occupying a BCCI office-bearer's post because the Reforms Committee has also recommended that a government minister or servant cannot be part of the Apex Council.

The Reforms Committee says:

'Many individuals occupy various posts in the BCCI for multiple terms and on multiple occasions, without any ceiling limit. There has even been an instance of a former President later becoming the Treasurer. In order to ensure that the posts are not treated as permanent positions of power, each term should be for three years. The total period for which a person can be a member of the Apex Council shall be nine years regardless of the capacity in which such position was or is occupied. However, in order to ensure that there is an appropriate cooling-off period, no person shall be a member of the Apex Council for two consecutive terms. Any elected Councillor shall stand automatically disqualified after nine years as an office-bearer, and shall also be disqualified from contesting or holding the post if he has completed the age of 70 years, is charged under the penal law, is declared to be of unsound mind, is a Minister or government servant or holds any post of another sports body in the country. Any nominated Councillor however, would not have more than one term in office. The endeavour in this regard is to filter those who are able and enthusiastic to govern the game that is the national passion.'

While articulating the reasons for his decision to quit as BCCI president, Manohar said that he doesn’t have any issue with a nine-year term of office for office-bearers, but he doesn’t agree with the three-year cooling-off period.

"You cannot have a cooling-off period because there will not be continuity in the system. You will have five different sets of office-bearers (president, vice-president, secretary, jt. secretary and treasurer) after every three years. Suppose a person is doing very well and the board wants to continue with him, you cannot because of the cooling-off period of three years. For a nine-year term you have to come to the board for 15 years.

"Then the proposal also says that if you are an office-bearer you cannot hold any position in your State association. It’s like saying if you are a minister, then you have to resign as a member of the parliament. There is no favouritism or conflict, because you are in the BCCI because of your position in the State association. If these are sorted out, then there will not be issues," said Manohar.

The BCCI members also feel that the cooling-off period will also shut the doors on Indian administrators in the future — they won't be able to vie for the top position in the International Cricket Council (ICC) because an office-bearer will disappear from the scene for three years.

At the press conference on Sunday, Thakur refused to comment on the cooling-off period issue. "The matter is sub-judice. Shashank Manohar is a very senior administrator and has a clean track record; he has delivered for the Vidarbha Cricket Association and the BCCI. I am grateful that he has expressed his views. All I want to say is that we have been 100 per cent transparent for many, many years. If there had been shortcomings we have tried to solve it."

The BCCI has explained its position to the Supreme Court by way of an affidavit replying to the Reforms Committee’s recommendations. Its lawyer K. K.Venugopal has been at most hearings. The BCCI has asked for another two hours to put its views when the bench of Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla will hear the case on June 30, and it will once again argue why it will be difficult to implement five or six recommendations, including the cooling-off period.