BCCI elections: Members in conflict with CoA

Things did not unfold the way Vinod Rai had hoped for, with majority of the BCCI members resisting changes and in no mood to cooperate with the CoA.

Vinod Rai visits the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai. (File Photo)   -  PTI

The Electoral Officer for the long overdue BCCI elections, N. Gopalaswami - former Chief Election Commissioner - has been quite busy preparing the groundwork for the elections scheduled for October 22 by the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA).

The CoA has been on an over drive, determined to convene the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and elections, that the former CAG and head of CoA, Vinod Rai had actually hoped for would have been completed by November October 2018.

"The elections will be held in the next 90 days,’’ Rai had said after the BCCI’s new constitution was registered in August 2018 - following an order of the Supreme Court - with Registrar of Societies, Tamil Nadu.

Things did not unfold the way Rai had hoped for, with majority of the BCCI members resisting changes and in no mood to cooperate with the CoA.

Things have not changed significantly much in the last 12 months, viz-a-viz CoA and the BCCI members who are vehement in their understanding of the Supreme Court order of March 14, 2019 which says, "We consider it appropriate to request Mr. P. S. Narasimha, learned Amicus Curiae to look into this matter (regarding applications for rectification of the Registered BCCI Constitution) and make appropriate recommendations to the CoA . In case the parties are not satisfied with those recommendations, they may approach this Court for passing appropriate orders.’’

The apex court also said that "by consent of all the parties, Mr. P.S. Narasimha, learned Amicus Curiae, is appointed by this Court to act as a mediator in relation to any dispute that might arise in the instant interlocutory applications pending before us.’’

This order of the apex court, was deemed as the "biggest hurdle’’ by a life member of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, Sanjeev Gupta, in his communication to the CoA on August 16.

Gupta has pointed out high-profile conflict of interest situations and made the BCCI Ethics Officer Justice (Retd) D.K. Jain take notice of it. He has been called for the Rahul Dravid CoI case hearing on September 26.

Expressing his misgivings about the CoA’s undertaking to go ahead with the AGM and elections, a BCCI member representative from Central India said, "The CoA has registered the new Constitution, but do they have the authority to call for elections. The Supreme Court’s order of March 14 is very clear. How can the CoA take away the voting right of some members. They have the right to go to the Court again and get an appropriate order.’’

As a part of the election process, the CoA has gone out of the way to say that individuals are allowed a total of 18 years in administration at the BCCI (nine years) and state level (nine years) as long as they fulfil the rules of elections.

The CoA has also taken into account the tenure of members in the IPL Governing Council for calculating the 18 year cap.

After being asked by the Supreme Court to play the role of a mediator, Amicus Curiae P. S. Narasimha has met a number of BCCI members,understood their concerns and accordingly mentioned it in his report submitted in May.

A number of BCCI members are not in terms with the timeline of the elections set out by the CoA. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and many others are yet to appoint an electoral officer.

But even the members whom the CoA believe are BCCI Constitution compliant feel that the operative part of the March 14 order of the Supreme Court cannot be overlooked.