BCCI reforms: Lodha not happy as SC may dilute recommendations

Justice (retd) RM Lodha - InsideSport

The Board of Control for Cricket in India office-bearers are heaving a sigh of relief at the softened Supreme Court’s stand on the BCCI reforms recommended by Justice (retd) RM Lodha. However, the man who had recommended sweeping changing for the cricket governance in the country feels that any dilution in recommendations will “frustrate the purpose of reforms”.

Justice (retd) RM Lodha has said that any dilution of the recommendations will defeat the basic purpose of the reforms. “The purpose of cooling is lost and objective defeated if cooling off is allowed to change. A three-year cooling off period means not re-contesting for any other post,” Justice Lodha had told national daily Times of India after the Supreme Court hearing on Thursday.

“It frustrates the objective of the cooling off period. The ills of governance and administration can come back if the same set of people are allowed to come back without serving the cooling-off period,” added the man who had recommended strict reforms, leading the appointment of Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the BCCI officials, seeing a ray of hope in the softened Supreme Court stand, say that their stand against the Lodha Committee recommendations is vindicated. “The Honourable judges heard our plea and made observations which has filled us with positivity. I feel now our (him and treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry’s) position is vindicated,” BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary has said after the SC hearing, adds PTI.

The BCCI officiating secretary was reacting to the Supreme Court’s observation that cooling off period does not seem necessary if the office-bearer is contesting for a different position.

The Supreme Court, while reserving its order on finalising the BCCI constitution, has indicated that it may modify some of the key recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha Committee.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, heading the three-judge Bench, has for the first time said that prima facie the court does not accept the three-year cooling-off period recommended by the Lodha panel for BCCI administrators before they contest elections in the Board.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also appeared in acceptance with the BCCI lawyer’s objections that there should not be any cooling-off period for those who want to contest the election for a different post.

“What is the need of cooling off period when a person is not contesting for the same post?” Chief Justice Dipak Misra had asked.

“The Lodha panel suggestion was that there should be a cooling off period between two consecutive terms for an office-bearer. After a tenure in a particular post of BCCI, the office-bearer may contest for some another post. There is no need for a cooling off period in between,” observed Justice D Y Chandrachud.

It was acting secretary Amitabh and treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry, who had worked alongside member units, to raise the objectionable clauses in Lodha Reforms, taking inputs from them.

“We have to wait for the final order but I think there is a ray of hope for us that things will be in order. The Honourable court heard all our arguments on the objectionable clauses and we are grateful for that,” Chaudhary said.

Asked whether the clause on cooling off period and the age-cap of 70 years would be done away with, Chaudhary, who has of late been at loggerheads with the Committee of Administrators, sarcastically said: “Why don’t you ask the CoA as to what they think about today’s observations?”

In the draft constitution submitted to the court, the eligibility for becoming a national selector has been set at 20 first-class matches. If accepted, it would mean Jatin Paranjpe and Gagan Khoda, who were removed from the senior selection panel, can come back. They had been removed for not being Test cricketers

Jatin and Gagan have been paid their salary without any work as selectors can only be removed at the AGM. In case the whole panel is removed at the AGM, they won’t make a comeback.