Justice Lodha: 'It is for the benefit of cricket'

Former chief justice R. M. Lodha, who headed the apex court-appointed panel looking into the affairs of BCCI, said he saw no difficulty in the Board implementing the recommendations.

Justice Lodha said he was not surprised by the Supreme Court order as the recommendations were balanced and objective.   -  R.V. Moorthy

The Supreme Court order on the Lodha Commission recommendations related to reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could serve as a template for all National Sports Federations.

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Former chief justice R. M. Lodha, who headed the apex court-appointed panel with former judges of the Supreme Court R.V. Raveendran and Justice Ashok Bhan as the other two members, told Sportstar: “It should be because it concerns sports administration in India. Of course, it should be considered for other sports federations too.”

Not surprised

The chief architect of the recommendations, Justice Lodha, was not surprised by the Supreme Court order. “In a way, the order did not exceed our expectations because the recommendations were quite balanced and objective. They spoke for the game of cricket and there was no reason for the Court to disagree with them. It is for the benefit of cricket and cricketers not to forget the fans,” he said.

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He saw no difficulty in the Board implementing the recommendations. “Why should there by any difficulty? The order is elaborate and deals with the overall conduct of cricket, especially the governance.”

Will bring transparency

Justice Lodha observed, “We were happy with the structure we had visualised and how we finally gave the shape to it. The Court has broadly retained the structure we had recommended. We wanted transparent governance in policy making. Professionals are the prescription for good governance and we have ensured that those who are genuinely qualified and eligible should be involved in the administration. I think we have achieved the aim.”

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The toughest part, said Justice Lodha, was giving shape to the Apex Council. “We have suggested Apex Council and formed the membership with the inclusion of a CAG representative. Forming players’ representation in the administration and putting the Apex Council in good shape was the biggest challenge. It was based on inputs from players and administrators and involved lot of research.”

Binding on State Associations

The Supreme Court order, in the opinion of Justice Lodha, was binding on the State units. “It is binding in a way. The State units receive their finances from the BCCI which has the duty to oversee how the money is spent. If the State units don’t follow the BCCI directions, they tend to lose the subsidy from the parent body. Without finances, I don’t think the State units can conduct cricket properly.”

Uniform constitution

On the subject of the units adopting the same constitution as the BCCI, Justice Lodha said, “There is a chapter devoted to this subject. I haven’t read the Supreme Court order fully but since there has not been any adverse observation, I think it means the constitution for the BCCI and its State units would have to be uniform. The same goes for the proxy system of voting. We had suggested abolition of proxy voting because it impacts the governance. If someone is not genuinely involved, then he is acting on the diktats of someone else. The whole administration becomes biased in that case.”

The Supreme Court order should show a new and vibrant way of sports governance. “It will help improve sports administration in the country. Not that cricket, for example, was not being run properly but it was mostly a closed-door affair with little transparency and accountability. The order puts things in perspective and everything is in public domain now. The administrators must look at the exercise objectively in the interest of the people and the game.”

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