Supreme Court issues show cause notice to BCCI

“Malfeasance is the best adjective to describe their attitude,” Amicus Curiae Mr. Subramanium said after the BCCI continued to drag its heels on the Lodha reforms.

The BCCI’s acting President C.K. Khanna (above), Amitabh Chadhary and Anirudh Chaudhry have been issued show cause notice by the apex court.   -  V. Ganesan

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued show cause notice to BCCI office-bearers Amitabh Choudhary and Anirudh Chaudhry to explain their alleged lack of initiative and ability to push forward the Justice Lodha Committee reforms in the Special General Meeting (SGM) held on July 26.

Mr. Choudhary, who is the acting BCCI secretary, and acting treasurer Mr. Chaudhry were accused by Supreme Court's amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium of being the “hidden, preponderant voices in the SGM of July 26 who just did not want to implement the Lodha reforms”.

In this behalf, Mr. Subramanium drew the court's attention to the scathing fifth status report submitted by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators led by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai.

The CoA had recommended the court to remove all the current BCCI office-bearers, including the acting secretary, treasurer and the acting president, C.K. Khanna for their non-compliance with the Supreme Court's prinicipal judgment of July 18, 2016 to implement Lodha reforms in the next six months. He described the attitude of the stakeholders as that of “veiled non-cooperation”.

Mr. Subramanium referred to how former Supreme Court judge, Justice Vikramjit Sen, who was present in the July 26 SGM as the Delhi High Court-appointed administrator for Delhi and District Cricket Association, expressed strong reservations about the stakeholders' hostility to the Lodha reforms.

Senior advocate Puneet Bali, who represents the BCCI office-bearers, objected to Mr. Subramanium's submission that not a single recommendation of the Lodha Committee has been implemented so far. He submitted that his clients were actually “helpless”.

“After the July 26 meeting, emails were sent to each and every official to comply with Lodha reforms. I am only the secretary or the president. I am helpless,” Mr. Bali submitted.

“Beseechment is not the solution, Mr. Bali. You have expressed your helplessness. Ok. So we will issue show cause notice to them. None of the Lodha reforms have been implemented so far,” Justice Misra orally addressed Mr. Bali.

The Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud court referred to its July 24 order, directing that “the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee report as far as practicable, barring the issues which have been raised pertaining to membership, number of members of the selection committee, concept of associate membership, etc” should be implemented.

“The purpose is to implement the report as far as practicable and, thereafter, it shall be debated as to how the scheme of things can be considered so that the cricket, the 'gentleman's game', remains nearly perfect,” the court had recorded in its July 24 order.

The court directed the Rai Committee to draft the BCCI Constitution by September 19. While drafting the Constitution, the CoA would however keep in mind the July 24 Supreme Court order red-flagging the three issues of membership, number of members of selection committee and concept of associate membership.

The Bench said it would open the floor for all stakeholders to debate the draft Constitution once it was done and handed over to the court.

“We had sent drafts of the BCCI Constitution to them at least three times in the past. Not once had they responded... their idea is not to comply with the Lodha reforms,” senior advocate Parag Tripathi, for the CoA, submitted.

Mr. Bali and senior advocate Kapil Sibal said they wanted a debate on several aspects of the Lodha Committee recommendations, including the age cap of 70 years, cooling-off period, powers of the BCCI CEO, membership, etc. “What has being a 70-year-old got to do with running cricket?” Mr. Sibal asked.

“But all this is part of our judgment,” Justice Misra responded.

“If they want to change the age cap, tenure, cooling-off period, bar on government servants and ministers and even the constitution of the apex council, what is left of the Lodha reforms?” Mr. Subramanium asked.

“We want ministers because railways have to be represented by a minister,” Mr. Bali submitted.

“Malfeasance is the best adjective to describe their attitude,” Mr. Subramanium submitted.