In front of a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday, an uncomfortable Board of Control for Cricket in India legal team is expected to put forward the difficulties in complete implementation of the Lodha panel proposals that aim to bring about administrative reforms in the world’s richest cricket association. (Supreme Court Tells Board of Control for Cricket in India to Implement Lodha Panel Report in Full)
On February 4, judges Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah said they had accepted the recommendations of the Lodha panel and wanted the BCCI to implement them in full. The apex court gave BCCI a month’s time to respond. (Board of Control for Cricket in India Fret Over Lodha Panel Recommendations)
“If you have any difficulty in implementing it we will have the Lodha Committee implement it for you,” Justice Thakur told the BCCI counsel, indicating clearly that BCCI’s constitution needed massive changes to bring more transparency in governance. (Board of Control for Cricket in India To File Affidavit in Supreme Court Against Anomalies In Lodha Panel Recommendations)
1. The Lodha panel was formed by the Supreme Court in January 2015 in the wake of the 2013 IPL betting and fixing scandal. Over 12 months, former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and two of his colleagues interacted with 74 individuals over 35 sittings before submitting their report.
2. In July 2015, the Lodha panel banned for life Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of ex-BCCI president N. Srinivasan and a Chennai Super Kings team official for betting. Raj Kundra, a co-owner of IPL team Rajasthan Royals and husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, received an identical fate.
3. The Lodha panel also handed out two-year suspensions on former champions Chennai and Rajasthan. The BCCI replaced Chennai and Rajasthan with a team from Rajkot and Pune.
4. Following the death of Jagmohan Dalmiya in September, 2015, Shashank Manohar returned for a second stint as its president in October. BCCI has been striving to shed its familiar image of being a rich but non-transparent organisation run by politicians and industrialists with conflicting interests. Manohar, also the current International Cricket Council chairman, went hard after the vexed issue of conflict of interest and made sure any expenditure above 2.5 million rupees ($37,574.21) was put up on the BCCI’s website.
5. On January 4, 2016, the Lodha panel made several telling recommendations in its second report to the Supreme Court. It recommended legalising cricket betting in the country, while suggesting structural changes to the powerful BCCI to ensure more transparency in its operation. The panel recommended cooling off period between successive terms for top officials, suggested ministers and government servants cannot occupy BCCI posts and wants professionals under a chief executive officer to run the board’s day-to-day activity. The panel wanted the BCCI to be brought under the Right to Information Act which would allow citizens to access information held by the Board.
6. On February 4, a bench comprising Justice Thakur and Justice Kalifullah accepted the proposals and wanted BCCI to implement it. The Board wanted time to review the proposals.
7. Several recommendations like ‘one state-one-unit-one vote’ and ‘no commercial breaks during live cricket matches’ met with serious opposition from the Board and its affiliated units. The decision to file an affidavit was taken at the BCCI’s Special general meeting in Mumbai on February 19.
8. During the BCCI SGM, it was decided that individual units with voting rights will be free to fight their own legal battles. The Cricket Club of India, based out of Mumbai’s historic Brabourne Stadium, was one of them. It was also decided during the SGM that the BCCI will also present a consolidated response that will include the grievances of state units which will face difficulties in implementing the Lodha panel proposals.
9. Towing the Lodha line of one-state-one-unit, the BCCI gave full membership to Chhattisgarh, ignoring the plea of Cricket Association of Bihar, the original petitioners of the IPL betting scam.
10. The BCCI filed an affidavit in Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 1) saying it would be difficult to implement the sweeping reforms proposed by the Lodha panel.