BCCI unhappy with SC barring public servants

While the three-member Supreme Court-appointed committee that ministers and government servants should not hold office in the BCCI and its state associations, the final order signed by the Chief Justice of India refers to "ministers and public servants."

The Supreme Court order bars "ministers and public servants" from holding office in BCCI and its state associations.   -  R. V. Moorthy

There is palpable anger in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its member units that the Supreme Court order endorsing the Justice Lodha Committee has gone to the extent of barring public servants from holding offices in the Board and its state associations.

While the three-member Supreme Court-appointed committee -- R. M. Lodha, Ashok Bhan and R. M. Raveendran -- had recommended that ministers and government servants should not hold office in the BCCI and its state associations, the final order signed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla refers to "ministers and public servants."

A paragraph in the final order, under 'Posts and Tenures', says: "The lack of any qualifications or disqualifications also ensures that those with full time occupations superficially involve themselves, thereby compromising their commitment to the association and the game of cricket.

Several public servants hold lead positions in state associations, which take a substantial toll on both sets of their respective obligations to the public.”

Item No.72 in the 143-page order says: "In light of the above we see no compelling reason for us to reject the recommendation which disqualifies ministers and public servants from holding offices in the state associations or BCCI.

The argument that ministerial and bureaucratic support has helped the BCCI in the past and hence they should be allowed to continue, lest the game suffers, has not impressed us. 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."

"A large number of people come under the definition of public servants, including those elected to the parliament, state legislature, local governments and perhaps even panchayats. The reference to public servants rules out an MP like Anurag Thakur and an MLA like Ashish Shelar (vice-president, Mumbai Cricket Association)," said a former MCA managing committee member, who's a retired police officer.

"There appears to be an oversight," said two sources closely associated with the Supreme Court-appointed committee.

It’s become a tricky issue because the final order has been signed by the CJI Thakur and Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla, who has now retired. What the Lodha Committee perhaps meant was a paid Government Officer (Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service officers and their like).

What has to be seen now is whether the Supreme Court can issue a "Notes to the order" or a corrigendum as Justice Kalifulla has retired. A former MCA office bearer believes that Justice Lodha himself may issue a clarification.