N. Srinivasan barred from BCCI meetings, says Supreme Court

The decision came at the back of CoA chairman Vinod Rai's complaint that Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah had been attending the SGM despite being disqualified. 

Srinivasan: 'When I talk, CoA says I'm disrupting. If I don't, they have no complaints. I too have the freedom of expression.'   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Over a year after backing the various reforms framed by the high-profile Justice R.M. Lodha Committee to usher in transparency in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian cricket administration, the Supreme Court on Monday said it is ready to revisit, if not modify, some key recommendations as they may “not be a good idea in this country”.

Primary among the recommendations of the Justice Lodha panel that may come under scrutiny is the One State One Vote policy. Another is the capping of the number of members of the senior selection committee at three, all of them to be former Test players. The BCCI had, last year, stuck to its conventional five members.

"This One State One Vote may not be a good idea in this country. I am quite favourable, made by the submissions of Railways, Maharashtra, Baroda and the Mumbai Cricket Association in this regard... Again, we don't want to get into selection and all that. But appointing somebody who has played just two or three Tests over a more qualified person...we want to debate..."

Justice Dipak Misra, who heads the Bench also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, orally observed. The Bench said it would hear the BCCI, State cricket associations and member bodies on issues like “memberships, number of votes, etc”, in an effort to make the running of “cricket, the gentleman's game” come as close to perfect as possible.

Meanwhile, the Bench exhorted the BCCI and its members to meet on July 26, 2017, as scheduled, and implement the Lodha reforms as regards all issues other than the ones flagged for further debate in court.

The court recorded that it would take stock of the minutes of the July 26 meeting in a hearing on August 18 and see how much of the Lodha reforms have been agreed to by the BCCI members. The Bench would then post the case for September 5, on which date, the stage would be open for further discussion on possible modifications in the Lodha recommendations.

With this, the BCCI case of many years in the Supreme Court has come a full circle from the judgment of July 18, 2016, confirming the Lodha recommendations. The same recommendations were re-confirmed in another elaborate judgment on January 2, 2017.

The January verdict had even seen the Supreme Court remove Anurag Thakur as BCCI chief for not doing enough to implement the Lodha reforms. On July 18, 2016, the Supreme Court had embraced the Lodha recommendations to overhaul Indian cricket administration at the end of a two-year-long innings during which the BCCI and State associations fought tooth-and-nail to protect their turf from the court's intervention.

The apex court had then concluded that the Lodha reforms would effectively overhaul the BCCI’s organisational set-up, memberships and functioning for the sake of transparency and accountability. It had given full marks to the ‘One State, One Vote’ policy, though the court had acknowledged that the policy may affect budding cricketers in States having more then one member cricket clubs as in Maharashtra and Gujarat with a long-standing history in contributing to cricket.

To avoid “long drawn litigation and frustration for the players and cricket lovers”, the court had suggested that the only way out of the “conundrum” is to introduce a policy of rotation of full membership among the clubs on an annual basis.

“During the period one of the associations would exercise rights and privileges of a full member, the other two associations would act as associate members of BCCI. This rotational arrangement would give each member a right to vote at its turn without violating the broader principle of One State One Vote recommended by the Committee,” the court had reasoned.

However, the court's change of tone comes even as there are still several applications and review petitions pending in the Supreme Court against the Lodha reforms. The government, through bodies like the Railways and varsities, which are also members of the BCCI, had joined cause with the Board against the Lodha reforms. They had argued that the One State One Vote policy has denuded them of their representation and share of funds despite years of service in Indian cricket.

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