Centre, SAI forced to take a stand on Lodha recommendations

After 28 sportspersons, that includes former Olympians and former India cricketers, initiated a petition that called for sweeping reforms in national sports bodies in the country the Supreme Court has sought a direct answer from the Centre about its views on the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha committee that authored the radical reforms in cricket.

The 28 sportspersons have petitioned to the Supreme Court that the salutary Lodha panel recommendations be integrated with the National Sports Development Code of India 2011.   -  PTI

Thanks to the petition made by 28 sportspersons that includes former Olympians and former India cricketers, the Supreme Court has sought a direct answer from the Government of India (GOI) about its views on the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha committee that authored the radical reforms in cricket report at the behest of the apex court to cleanse cricket administration in India.

The Supreme Court has also asked the Sports Authority of India (SAI) its view on the Lodha recommendations; the SAI functions directly under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, GOI.

The sportspersons have petitioned to the Supreme Court that the salutary recommendations by the Justice Lodha Committee should be integrated with the National Sports Development Code of India 2011.

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“It’s submitted that like in the game of cricket several oligarchies exist in other sports administration which is to the great detriment of the respective sports. It may also be noted that there is an urgent need to amend and rework the National Sports Code so as to ensure that sports administration is not treated as a self perpetuating business but instead must be for the betterment of the sports concerned,” said a release from the petitioners.

Those keenly following the intervention applications in the apex court, especially with regard to the Attorney General of India (AGI) , Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the GOI bodies, Association of Indian Universities (AIU), Railways and Services, feel that the GOI and SAI’s response will have a direct bearing on the order of the Supreme Court on July 18, 2016 that validated the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations.

A veteran administrator said, “the AGI has already argued for a recall of the July 18 order of the Supreme Court. In the event of the GOI expressing an opinion against the Justice Lodha committee recommendations, one cannot rule out the possibility of the matter placed before the parliament.”

In an interview to a broadsheet the AGI said: “ I appeared in the BCCI matter for the first time on behalf of three organisations. It was not generally the Government of India, but it was essentially the ministry of railways, the tri-services of the armed forces and the association of Indian Universities. Yes of course, the railways ministry and armed forces ministry are part of Government of India.”

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The AGI argued, “I am seeking a recall of this order and have filed an application in this regard. I am also raising a more fundamental issue regarding the extent of judicial review in matters of internal administrations of a private society, be that BCCI or several other state associations.”

Most observers —BCCI administrators present and past —feel that the GOI has plunged into the vortex of an issue the BCCI and its full member units have been finding difficult to understand the Lodha recommendations and implement it following the Supreme Court order of July 18.

The recommendations, when fully enforced would wipe out virtually all of the administrators at the BCCI and State level because of the term, tenure and cooling off period rule and also age cap of seventy put in by the Lodha Committee. A few associations have begun redevelopment of its infrastructure.

The Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) is reported to have estimated an expenditure of ₹ 800 crore for a state of the art venue at Motera and local officials say that without its present senior functionaries it will be difficult to go ahead with the project.