India news July 12, 2017

CoA asks Supreme Court to solve Srinivasan-Shah problem

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Ugra: Old BCCI challenging Supreme Court

The Committee of Administrators has turned up the heat on the BCCI's old guard, asking the Supreme Court to take note of the "disruptive and subversive conduct" of disqualified office bearers who were preventing the board from implementing the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

In its fourth status report which the court will consider on July 14, the COA, which was appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the implementation of the Lodha Committee's recommendations, named former BCCI office bearers N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah as being particularly problematic to the process.

Srinivasan and Shah had become ineligible to continue in their roles as heads of the Tamil Nadu and Saurashtra Cricket Associations, and to attend BCCI meetings, after the court approved the Lodha report on July 18, 2016. They were disqualified because they were over the prescribed 70-year age cap and had exceeded the maximum tenure for office bearers.

Yet both Srinivasan and Shah have found ways to stay involved in administration and attend important BCCI meetings, including the most recent special general meetings (SGM) of the board on May 7 and June 26. Those two SGMs had been convened for the BCCI's members - the state associations - to approve the new constitution, as per the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

The CoA said the SGM on June 26 was "manifestly disruptive". In its report, the CoA told the court that it had managed to convince the majority of the state associations to adopt the recommendations but the SGM was "hijacked" by the disqualified former office bearers.

"From an audio recording of the SGM, it appears that such disqualified persons were able to effectively hijack proceedings at the SGM by prevailing upon other attendees (who may have been otherwise willing to facilitate the reform process) to either support the cause of such disqualified person or remain silent," the COA said.  

Srinivasan and Shah, and other disqualified administrators, had attended the meetings as a representative or nominee of their state association. In their defence, the TNCA and SCA said the Lodha Committee's eligibility norms were for office bearers and not representatives. The CoA countered in its report that the "true intention" of the court's order had been violated on a technicality.

"In this manner, such disqualified persons are effectively able to do indirectly what they have been prohibited by this Hon'ble Court from doing directly," the CoA said. "Such disqualified persons have a vested interest in stalling implementation of the Judgement because, if the Judgment is implemented, such disqualified person will have to relinquish control over their respective State/Member Associations."

The COA also noted that though the three existing BCCI office bearers - CK Khanna (acting president), Amitabh Choudhary (secretary), and Anirudh Chaudhry (treasurer) - had given written consent to the Supreme Court, only Choudhary urged the members to take "concrete steps" to implement the reforms at the SGM on June 26. Chaudhry, the COA said, was a "mute spectator, lacking the courage and conviction" to support the implementation of the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

The BCCI's recent decision to form a special committee to shortlist "critical points" from the Lodha recommendations that it wanted the Supreme Court to reconsider, was also criticised by the CoA. Such a committee, the COA said in its report, was formed almost a year after the order was delivered last year, clearly indicative of the resistance to the reforms. The COA requested the court to "remove the impediments to implementation" of the Lodha Committee's recommendations.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo