SC OKs new BCCI constitution, rejects one-state, one-vote reform

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday approved BCCI’s new draft constitution with some modifications, effectively diluting its earlier order on a tenure cap for office bearers and reinstating voting rights of four legacy cricket associations. In a string of rulings in the long-running case involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the apex court, however, warned state associations that they face action if they don’t adopt the new constitution in the next 30 days.

The ruling, especially on the “cooling-off” norm as well as “one-state, one- vote”, comes as a relief to BCCI, which has questioned the feasibility of the Lodha recommendations.

The Supreme Court, in its July 18, 2016 verdict, accepted most of the recommendations of the Lodha committee,which was headed by retired Justice RM Lodha and formed with the aim to reform the BCCI following charges of large-scale maladministration in the cash-rich cricket body. Thursday’s ruling waters down key recommendations of the panel.

In approving the draft constitution, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also asked the registrar general of Tamil Nadu Societies to bring on record the approved BCCI constitution within four weeks. The BCCI’s constitution is registered in Tamil Nadu.

Excellent order by Supreme Court

“This is an excellent order by the Honourable Court. I have absolutely no problem with office-bearers having two consecutive terms. Even I had originally wanted a six-year term before cooling off period but couldn’t get consensus.” — Vinod Rai, chairman of the Committee of Administrators (CoA)

Why was the Lodha panel formed?

The Lodha panel was formed in January 2015 in the wake of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee report that called for reforms in the BCCI. The Mudgal panel had gone into the state of affairs of the BCCI, following the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing controversy.

Railways, Services and Universities to be permanent members: The bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud restored permanent membership to Railways, Services and Universities, which are not full cricket associations but are “boards”.

Age limit not cleared yet: Details about the age limit and tenure specifications for office bearers remain to be seen; the Lodha committee had recommended an age-cap of 70 and a tenure limit of 9 years at the BCCI or state units.

Big relief for Indian cricket board

Among the Lodha reforms that were not accepted in the board’s new constitution are the one-state, one-vote policy, and the cooling-off period for office bearers after one term.

The cooling-off period will now be after two consecutive terms in office, and the removal of the one-state-one-vote policy means all the associations based in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat – Saurashtra, Vidarbha, Baroda, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Mumbai – will retain their full membership in the BCCI.

The principle of the cooling-off period still holds, but after two consecutive 3-year terms at the BCCI or state, or a combination of both. That gives an official a 6-year run in office.

(With inputs from Agencies)