Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae PS Narsimha is confident that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is moving towards forming a democratically elected body which should actually govern the game rather than the court or its appointed bodies. Narsimha recently submitted a report in apex court after meeting representatives of various State associations and having made some headway where stakeholders are now getting ready for an election. In another pertinent point, the former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) of India made it clear that composition of nine-member apex council was never in Lodha Committee’s mandate.
“Ultimately, it is for the organisers (officials) of cricket to take care of the game. It is not for courts to take care of the game. It is not for the lawyers to take care of the game. It is not for the Court appointed committees to continue to take care of the game,” Narsimha told PTI during an exclusive interview.
“It is for the cricket organisers to do it and these organisers are the elected bodies. Now the reforms require that they associate cricketers also. They take care of the game that’s all. I think things are moving positively. The process of reforms commenced long back has taken time. Now it is time for implementation,” Narsimha said.
The amicus said that his near “135 hours of mediation” with the State units have been “fruitful” as the matter is now nearing a “good conclusion”.
“It seems to be near to that good conclusion we are thinking of to the litigation. So I think this mediation has resulted in some kind of a gateway of holding elections and putting in place a democratically elected BCCI,” Narsimha sounded confident.
“My experience has been wonderful and all State units were enthusiastic in their response,” said the senior advocate, making it clear that at no point did he feel that any of the associations tried to scuttle the whole mediation process.
Asked if it was good thing that Committee of Administrators (CoA) has now run Indian cricket for more than two years, Narsimha replied: “That question is really not relevant today because now we are at a stage where we are at the verge of resolving those issues and everyone lent a very positive hand.”
The amicus also clarified that the combined tenure for any office-bearer in State and parent body is 18 years.
“The total number of years in BCCI is 9 years and in State association is also 9 years. So the total is 18 years. The last judgement made an observation which seemed to have created confusion as to whether it is 9 or 18.”
One of the main issues was composition of apex council and Narsimha agreed that the grievance of the State associations on the subject was a genuine one.
“In BCCI, there is 36-member general body whereas some State associations have even 2,000 voters and some even had different composition with clubs and universities.
“So there are different types of entities and each one needed a representation. State associations are active bodies and they need man power. Therefore they need larger number of executives to execute,” the amicus reasoned.
He then agreed that the Lodha panel didn’t have the mandate to decide on composition of the apex council. “I thought confining (apex council composition) as a matter of rule to nine for every state association is something that number one not logical and secondly, it wasn’t the mandate of Lodha Commission. Thirdly, it wasn’t the direction of the court. I spoke to CoA and told them that the system won’t work if you confine it to nine-member Apex council for state associations.
“After lot of deliberations, CoA also agreed it must be varied from place to place and importantly independence and character of the state association to the large extent was retrieved back,” said Narsimha.
While lot of associations spoke in favour of holding elections, Narsimha said that it is something for the “CoA to take note of”.
“Once they fix the date for BCCI elections, automatically, working backwards, states will be holding their elections and send their representatives (to AGM). My role is not so much about holding elections.”
On a personal front, it was an “unusual job” for him as a lawyer. “My cup of tea as a senior advocate is completely different from what the court asked me to do in this case,” he said smilingly.
“My faith in goodness of people is what helped me to execute this job and it happened naturally. Associations felt that they could convey to me their large number of grievances. I patiently heard them and could understand some of their frustrations. I only took them back to the question as to what they want in the best interest of cricket,” he concluded.