There is no certainty over how long can it take to enforce the State cricket associations in India fully comply with the Lodha Committee recommendations. However, the litigation so far to enforce and stall the recommendations has cost the Board of Control for Cricket in India around ₹ 350 crore.
There are different parties – the BCCI, State Associations, CoA and the BCCI – are battling it out in the court. The Indian cricket board and the CoA are battling to enforce the Lodha Committee reforms whereas the other parties are in the court to stall the board’s bid. Interestingly though, the entire cost of the litigation is borne by the BCCI directly or indirectly.
BCCI is not just paying the legal bills of the elected office-bearers – the officiating president, officiating secretary and the officiating treasurer – who are resisting the bid to implement the recommendations, but the State units opposing the reforms too foot their legal bills from the aid and grants received from the BCCI. The board obviously also pays the litigation costs of the Committee of Administrators.
In the past three years, the initiative to enforce the Lodha Panel reforms, which are also accepted by the Supreme Court of India, has cost the BCCI approximately ₹350 crore, national daily Times of India has reported quoting a source in the BCCI.
“In the last three years, the board has spent ₹350 crores on legal fees on this issue. This must be the only litigation in the world in which the expense of both parties, the litigant as well as the respondent, is being borne by the same organization — the BCCI in this case. It’s a unique litigation case, a sort of a world record,” the source has told TOI.
The BCCI’s legal affairs are handled by Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. The Committee of Administrators (CoA) is represented by Parag Tripathi and CU Singh; Punit Bali appears for the office bearers and the 34 State associations, many of whom are still stalling the reforms, have engaged a battery of around 150 lawyers, states the report.
“Put together, these State associations have engaged close to 150 lawyers (who are indirectly being paid by the BCCI), who have filed around 100 Intervening Applications (IAs) to contest the Lodha reforms in the apex court,” said a board official.
“The case, which started as the one between Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) vs BCCI, has now practically become BCCI vs BCCI. In 2016, I attended 16 appeals in this case, after which the SC accepted the reforms. At that time, former Attorney General of India KK Venugopal and Kapil Sibal were representing the BCCI’s case against the reforms in the SC,” the paper has quoted another anonymous official as saying.