BCCI not ‘receptive to crucial’ Lodha recommendations

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in a mood of denial. The apex governing body for the sport of cricket in the country has yet again defied the apex judicial body of the nation – the Supreme Court.
The BCCI Special General Meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday rejected all major recommendations on “good governance” including age cap, tenure and cooling-off period even as it has agreed to adopt the Lodha panel reforms partially.
Supreme Court on August 18 had agreed to hear BCCI’s practical difficulties for implementing the reforms en toto. This has helped BCCI get an “escape route” to turn down the 70-year age cap, a three-year cooling off period and the nine-year tenure each in the State and national bodies recommendations.
This has not gone down well with the man at the helm of the panel that had recommended sweeping changes in the BCCI governance – Mr Justice RM Lodha. “I am shocked to see that the BCCI has rejected all the major reforms again. Heart, kidney, lungs are being taken out of these reforms. It’s a comprehensive report prepared by the committee and by removing the vital organs, nothing remains in the suggested reforms. I don’t know what is happening,” Mr Justice Lodha had told Times of India. “What is the point of deliberating when the verdict is already given by the Supreme Court? I don’t understand where is the possibility of changing the recommendations when all the review petitions are have been rejected.”

The ball in such a scenario might go back to the court the apex judicial panel. “If the BCCI rejects the reforms like the powers of the executives and the size of the apex council, it means the BCCI is not interested in implementing the reforms at all. I am sure the honourable Supreme Court will take a look at it very soon,” Mr Justice Lodha had added.

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary after the meeting on Wednesday had said that they had unanimously adopted all but five reforms as per Supreme Court verdict on 18 July, 2016.

The five reforms, adopted at the SGM, include matters pertaining to membership, one State one vote, retention of full members, Railways, Services etc; definition of powers of appointed executives; size and constitution of the apex council; restriction and disqualification of office bearers and ministers and government officials, age, tenure and cooling off period and size of national selection committee.

However, the objection raised on the reforms during SGM exceed the stand taken by the BCCI at its meeting in October last year.

Not accepting what was termed by Lodha Panel as principles of good governance is an indication that old guards Niranjan Shah and N Srinivasan manage to stay relevant despite disqualification.

“If we want Railways or Services to retain full membership (voting) rights, then they can only be represented by either a government employee or a minister,” said Choudhary, explaining why the disqualification of the Government employees and Ministers was kept among the reservations over the reforms.

On the size of proposed Apex Council, Choudhary added: “Currently, it’s proposed size is five members. It has only one vice-president and members are of the opinion that it is smaller in size considering the length and breadth of country.”

Choudhary said that they are still in process of sorting out Conflict of Interest clause as there are a few objections from members. The BCCI has also shortlisted a panel of names for role of Ombudsman.

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