Noting that its diktats are not “written in sand” and are meant to be complied with, the Supreme Court, on Monday, stripped the BCCI president Anurag Thakur and the secretary Ajay Shirke of their posts and ordered them to "forthwith cease and desist" from associating with Indian cricket's most powerful body.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice T. S. Thakur and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud declared Mr. Thakur and Mr. Shirke “unfit” to continue at the helm of the BCCI for their “obstructionist” attitude and specious pleas in court about their incapacity to make affiliated State associations fall in line with the Justice Lodha reforms.
>Read: Thankur, Shirke removed
The court primarily referred to how Mr. Thakur had “washed his hands off a duty and obligation to ensure compliance” of the Lodha panel reforms, citing the excuse that he has been “rendered totally incapable and without any authority” to compel the members to comply with the orders of the court.
The BCCI bosses not only made “unfortunate comments” about the Lodha Committee in public but also ended up hurting the dignity of the Supreme Court with their attitude, the order noted.
Besides, the court found Mr. Thakur prima facie guilty of both contempt of the Supreme Court proceedings and perjury (fabrication of false evidence), adding that such a person does not deserve to continue as the BCCI president.
>Read: Shirke fine with removal
The court held that Mr. Thakur's attempts to “solicit” the ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar in Dubai for a letter to undermine the Supreme Court judgment of July 18, 2016 which upheld the Lodha Committee recommendation to include a CAG nominee on the Board's apex council prima facie amounted to sheer contempt. The court concluded that Mr. Thakur had apparently acted to garner evidence that the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee's interventions in the working of the BCCI amounted to “governmental interference”.
The apex court further said Mr. Thakur was prima facie guilty of placing on record a “fabricated” minutes of a BCCI Working Committee meeting held on August 22, 2016 in order to lend support for his version that he had only sought a clarification from Mr. Manohar and not a letter.
>Lodha Committee recommendations: All that you need to know
This claim of Mr. Thakur was later found untrue when Mr. Manohar, in a correspondence to the Supreme Court on November 2, clarified that the BCCI president did ask him for the letter. The court found that Mr. Thakur had also filed affidavits making false statements.
The court has issued notice to Mr. Thakur for his response on why he should not face both contempt proceedings and a criminal prosecution for perjury.
The order, authored by Justice Chandrachud, fully supported the Justice Lodha panel recommendation to oust the BCCI office-bearers and administrators of affiliated State associations who are above 70 years in age, who are insolvent, government ministers and servants, office-bearers of other sports and athletic associations, those who have already enjoyed a cumulative period of nine years at the BCCI helm and those charged with criminal offences.
“Several office bearers both of the BCCI and the State Associations continue to hold posts although they stand disqualified in terms of the above norms... the turf of the cricket field is not a personal turf or fiefdom,” the Supreme Court observed.
The court held that a committee of administrators would be appointed to run the BCCI. The Bench sought "objective assistance" from senior advocate Fali Nariman and amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium to choose persons of experience and integrity for the committee. The court asked the senior advocates to submit their report in two weeks.
Meanwhile, till the committee was formed, the court ordered the seniormost vice-president of the BCCI to take over as the BCCI president and the joint secretary to replace him. The Supreme Court, here, referred to how it had, in 2014, appointed retired cricketer Sunil Gavaskar as interim BCCI president in relation to IPL 2014 when it had found the then BCCI president, N. Srinivasan, incapable of performing his duties.
The court said other BCCI administrators, excluding Mr. Thakur and Mr. Shirke, shall continue, provided they do not fall under the categories the Lodha Committee recommended for immediate ouster.
Such administrators who remain after the filtering should provide an unconditional undertaking in four weeks that they will comply with the Lodha panel reforms.
Once the committee of administrators is formed, the Lodha Committee’s job will be confined to overall policy making. The administrators would work in association with the Lodha Committee.
The ICC angle
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to see the developments in India as “judicial intervention” and not “government intervention.”
What would happen immediately, though, is Anurag Thakur ceasing to be the BCCI nominee at the ICC board and the other posts he held, one of which was the chairman of the ICC Development Board.
>Read: What will happen in a time bound manner
The next hearing is scheduled for January 19, 2017.
>Read the full version of the Lodha Committe report
The Lodha Committe report in parts
Latest on Sportstar
- Heat vs Nuggets Live Score, Game 2: Miami looks to bounce back; Starting Lineups, NBA Finals updates
- Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat LIVE Streaming Info: When and where to watch the NBA Finals Game 2?
- Sabalenka makes French Open last eight for first time
- Tsitsipas blasts past Ofner to make French Open quarter-finals
- Duplantis sets new 2023 pole vault best