India news July 18, 2016

BCCI given six months to implement Lodha committee reforms

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Ugra: The BCCI will look for legal wriggle room

The Supreme Court has accepted the majority of the Lodha Committee recommendations covering wide-ranging aspects of Indian cricket at the central and state level. It has given the BCCI between four and six months to implement the recommendations and appointed RM Lodha, the former chief justice of India who was the architect of the report, to oversee the transition.

The order was delivered on Monday afternoon by the two-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice of India TS Thakur and Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla, which has been hearing the case since January.

"In the result, we accept the report submitted by the [Lodha] Committee and the recommendations made therein with such modifications and clarifications as have been set out by us in the body of this judgement," the bench said in its order. "The transition from the old to the new system recommended by the Committee shall have to be under the watchful supervision of this Court.

"The supervision of the transition can, in our opinion, be left to be undertaken by the Committee not only because it has a complete understanding of and insight into the nature of the problems sought to be remedied but also the ability to draw timelines for taking of steps necessary for the implementation of the proposed reforms. We are conscious of fact that the process may be time consuming but we hope that the same should be completed within a period of four months or at best six months from today. We, therefore, request the committee headed by Justice Lodha to draw appropriate timelines for implementation of the recommendations and supervise the implementation thereof.

"With these observations we dispose of the matter finally placing on record our deep appreciation for the commendable work which the Committee has done in a short period."

The BCCI counsel KK Venugopal told the court that his client "will show greatest respect in implementing the judgment". BCCI president Anurag Thakur offered no comment because he said he wanted to study the order first, but IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said the BCCI would respect the judgement and discuss the procedure for implementation at a meeting.

Reacting to the court order, Lodha said he hoped it would be a positive influence on the game. "Great day for Indian cricket and Indian sport, think cricket fans should rejoice the verdict of Supreme Court," he told ANI.

The panel - comprising Lodha and retired Supreme Court judges, Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran - had been formed in January 2015 to determine appropriate punishments for Rajasthan Royals official Raj Kundra, Chennai Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan and their respective franchises, and decide on Sundar Raman's role in the IPL 2013 scandal, and propose changes to the BCCI's functioning to streamline its functions and prevent sporting fraud and conflict of interest.

The most important set of recommendations announced by the Lodha Committee in January this year were accordingly aimed at transforming the BCCI's power structure. The court accepted the committee's recommendation of giving each state only one vote in the BCCI's elections and and removing the vote from associations without territorial definitions (Railways and Services, for example).

The court also approved of recommendations that sought to define stringent eligibility criteria for the board's office-bearers and set limits to their time in office. Ministers and bureaucrats currently holding office will not to be allowed to hold BCCI positions, neither would those officials holding office in their state associations or those above 70 years of age.

The committee's recommendation that there be five elected office-bearers - president, secretary, one vice-president instead of the current five, treasurer and joint-secretary - but that they serve no more than three three-year terms across positions was also accepted by the court; as was the motion to have a "cooling-off" period between terms to prevent an official from holding high BCCI office for several years at a stretch.

The Lodha's report had also recommended that the Working Committee, the BCCI's highest decision-making body, be replaced with a nine-member Apex Council, which will include representatives from the players' community - including one woman. There should also be a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General to keep an eye on how the board's vast resources were being utilised. The BCCI was asked to implement all these recommendations.

There were three major recommendations made by the Lodha Committee that the Supreme Court did not direct the BCCI to implement. The court did not accept the recommendation to impose restrictions on television advertisements during the broadcast of matches, and it said that the matters of bringing the BCCI under the Right to Information Act and legalising betting in the country were matters for the Indian legislature.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • MANEESHROYwinner on July 19, 2016, 14:39 GMT

    No-one is against any clout of any sports organization in India. Whom do cheer for, your national team or some private company's team, this is the question ? Even with statutory regulations Cricket Board can continue to garner clout in every sphere.

  • amogh1984 on July 18, 2016, 17:28 GMT

    Every one envy bcci due to the financial clout.but that is not the case with other sports organisation thankthanks to intervention. I agree that there are irregularities in bcci. But it has done great job for development of cricket in the country. Ex players are getting pensions. lot of players have made careers through IPL. But if govt comes in to the affairs of bcci everything would be doomed

  • MANEESHROYwinner on July 18, 2016, 16:24 GMT

    There is no other sport in India where a team or an individual has achieved lot of success at international level. This success at international level has allowed Cricket Board to cash-on its popularity. As long as Indian cricket team achieves success at international level it will never be neglected by anybody.

  • CricketChat on July 18, 2016, 16:24 GMT

    For the benefit of cricket game, Ind must stay under the radar and let ICC run the game instead of them.

  • MANEESHROYwinner on July 18, 2016, 16:19 GMT

    There is no other sport in India where a team or an individual has achieved lot of success at international level. This success at international level has allowed Cricket Board to cash-on its popularity. As long as Indian cricket team achieves success at international level it will never be neglected by anybody.

  • Poduval on July 18, 2016, 15:58 GMT

    I fully agree that there has to be absolute transperency and accountability in all organizations including the government agencies. The move to ban ministers and civil servants is a welcome move. But I do not support the age limit of 70. Why is the age limit only for bocci? If the Supreme Court insists on fixing age limit, implement it across the board, including the ministers and even judges.

  • amogh1984 on July 18, 2016, 15:55 GMT

    Here goes.... cricket will soon become like other sports in India. I mean to say neglected entity

  • MANEESHROYwinner on July 18, 2016, 14:22 GMT

    In his book "Spin Punch" spinner Dilip Doshi wrote " The Indian team, had a "one-track obsession" with money that he found 'quite disgusting'. The BCCI, meanwhile, was "a government within a government, almost totally not accountable to anyone" ". Only time will tell if Lodha committee report can bring transparency to Indian Cricket. There was a good suggestion made by sports journalist Rajaraman that, Parliament should come up with a law to regulate all sports federation in India and no sports federation should be registered under companies act. After all it should be clear that Indian Cricket team represents India or some private company.

  • Cricinfouser on July 18, 2016, 14:11 GMT

    @MJRVASU.. can you be kind enough to elaborate the point that you made. what assets does any individuals have in bcci? as far as I know bcci is an entity registered under the registrar of companies and the only stakeholders are the Indian public.

  • anshu.s on July 18, 2016, 14:01 GMT

    Supreme Court had to be more open minded with regards to certain objections raised by the BCCI and not view BCCI merely as a recalcitrant organisation hellbent on stonewalling Lodha panel recommendations otherwise there could be an impasse in future as BCCI would simply refuse to conduct any international or domestic matches . Good luck then to Lodha committee or anyone else for that matter to run all Cricket in India which includes conducting thousands of matches whether senior,u 19,u-16,Ladies,countless district level etc .

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