The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it accept all the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee relating to structural reforms in the governing body.
The apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla told BCCI that the Justice Lodha Committee has given a “very viable rational solutions. You take a realistic view of the matter and act according to the recommendations”.
Impressing upon senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for BCCI, the significance of the report, the court said: “The report deserves respect as it is given by the most competent and well-meaning members of the legal fraternity.”
“It may affect some people who are holding positions but any transition has to have its problems,” the court said as Naphade sought to project the difficulties that the apex cricketing body was encountering with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.
“It involves sweeping changes. We are not taking an obstructionist view. There are technical and legal problems. The legal committee (of BCCI) will take a call on the recommendations, which in turn will be considered by the Board and take a final decision,” Naphade told the court pointing out that BCCI was registered as a society in Tamil Nadu and had to go by its by-laws.
Not missing on apparent reservations on the part of BCCI in going along with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, the court made it clear that it would not appreciate any suitable assessment of the same (recommendations) by the cricketing body.
“We will say that we accept the recommendations and ask the Justice Lodha Committee to push forward its (recommendations) for its implementation … help and steer them (BCCI) in the implementation of the recommendations and also monitor it,” Chief Justice Thakur said.
Thakur also made it clear that there could not be any “ifs and buts” in going along with the recommendations for structural reforms in BCCI.
Naphade sought some time for BCCI to respond telling the court that its legal committee was meeting to examine the recommendations and thereafter cricketing board would address the issue.
Senior counsel Indu Malhotra, appearing for Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), read out the summary of the recommendations by the Justice Lodha Committee and told the court that some states including Bihar and six north-eastern states Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram have no representation in the apex cricketing body.
On the other hand, Maharashtra and Gujarat have multiple votes, Indu Malhotra told the court.
Naphade cited historical reasons to justify multiple representations of Maharashtra and Gujarat in BCCI.
The apex court-appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee have made a host of far-reaching recommendations for improvement of cricket administration in the country including limiting the term for BCCI office bearers with a cooling off period and separate governing bodies for BCCI and the Indian Premier League (IPL).
It had also recommended bringing BCCI under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, legalisation of betting, uniformity in structure of state associations, and a one-state-one-member (vote) pattern for BCCI’s governing body.
The matter would come up for further hearing on March 3.