Justice Lodha: SC judgement has taken out the foundation stone

Justice R. M. Lodha, the chief architect of the administration reforms in India, is “disappointed” following the Supreme Court ruling.

“We were trying to eradicate the volume of fiefdom that some officials had come to establish,” admits Justice R. M. Lodha.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Justice R. M. Lodha, chief architect of the cricket administration reforms in the country, is a “disappointed” man following the ruling on Thursday by the Supreme Court that signals a new era in the way the game would be conducted henceforth.

The Court diluted a few suggestions by the Lodha Committee, notably the clause related to the cooling off period and the one State one vote policy. “Honestly I am disappointed because the very policy has been affected. The dilution allows some officials to continue their domination which we had tried to end,” Justice Lodha told Sportstar.

“They have diluted the reforms (one State, one vote, and cooling off period of the office bearers) which had all been accepted by Supreme Court (on July 18, 2017). The idea was to break the monopoly of office-bearers who have been long in power. Unless they are removed there won’t be space for newcomers. Our reforms were aimed to stop these officials from building their kingdom for six years. The judgement has taken out the foundation stone,” he observed.

‘Long and comprehensive exercise’

Justice Lodha added, “Such reforms were needed to lay a strong foundation. We had worked very hard, spoken to so many stakeholders connected with the game. It had been a really a long and comprehensive exercise. Our reforms had been accepted by the Supreme Court which normally does not make a lot of changes to jurisprudential aspect.”

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On the one-State one-vote policy, Justice Lodha maintained, “We wanted to put all States on par because the tendency in the past to manipulate votes. Western India will now have six votes and people will take control of these votes. Similarly, we did not want Government to play any role in the autonomous body like BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India). Why should the Government have a vote which will be controlled by the concerned ministries? We were not trying to affect the rights of the players. We were trying to eradicate the volume of fiefdom that some officials had come to establish.”

‘New learning experience’

Looking at the brighter side of the development, Justice Lodha said, “I would be satisfied if the reforms become a template for other sports bodies. It will ensure good principles of governance and bring in greater transparency and accountability. The sports bodies should function in letter and spirit of good governance. BCCI will never be able function in the same manner now. Once the new constitution comes in place, BCCI will have to work accordingly.”

Justice Lodha’s concluding remark conveyed his mood. “It was a great experience, very different from what I did for 21 years. It was a new learning experience. Yes, I will continue to watch cricket. Like millions of India, it’s a passion for me too.”