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BCCI panel suggests court reconsider three Lodha recommendations

Niranjan Shah arrives at the BCCI headquarters PTI

The BCCI has successfully narrowed down the list of Lodha Committee recommendations that it wants reviewed by the Supreme Court to three. The points that the special panel which discussed the recommendations in Mumbai on Saturday wants the court to reconsider are: the three-year cooling off period for office bearers and members of the apex council, the one-state one-vote policy, and the demarcation in roles of office bearers and professionals.

The seven-member panel was appointed by the BCCI on June 27 with a view to identify the "few critical points" in the implementation of the Supreme Court order. India's finance minister Arun Jaitley, also a former vice-president of the BCCI, had met the panel earlier this week and asked them to narrow down the points of difficulties from seven to three or four, before presenting them to the Supreme Court. As a result, the new list did not feature an objection to the age cap of 70 years for office bearers, and the number of selectors being brought down from five to three.

Given the panel has decided not to challenge the age cap of 70, it might seem that veteran officials such as N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah - who himself, incidentally, was an "invitee" to the special panel - will be on their way out. However, the age-cap recommendation only extends to office bearers, and not nominees or invitees to any committee of the BCCI or state associations - like in the case of Shah in this panel - and that could be a loophole unless the Supreme Court specifically says otherwise.

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary, who convened the panel on Saturday, said these three points would now be sent to the board, which will hold a Special General Meeting (SGM) before the Supreme Court's next hearing on July 14.

The BCCI, according to Choudhary, wants the one-state one-vote policy to be reconsidered "with the view that the present members of the BCCI continue to remain members; at the same time, enroll new members, including those from the north-east, after following the due process".

For the cooling off period, Choudhary stated since a cap of nine years had been placed on the cumulative duration any office bearer held office for, the panel thought the cooling off period may be "put in abeyance". He also said if the rule of cooling off period for office bearers could be done away with, it should apply to the membership of the apex council too. "All we are saying is, once you've placed a cap of nine years, this cooling off can be removed. And that should also apply to the apex council," he said.

The third point, which Choudhary did not elaborate on, deals with the demarcation of functions as set out between the elected office bearers, for example a secretary, and the professional appointees, like a board CEO. The Lodha Committee had suggested there be a segregation between the powers of the two, which the BCCI has objected to since its office bearers, such as the president and secretary, have wielded power historically and the appointment of a CEO is a more recent concept. When asked if the BCCI wanted this recommendation to be removed entirely, Choudhary only said, "it needs a review".

The panel to shortlist the recommendations for review comprised IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, vice-president TC Mathew, Cricket Association of Bengal president Sourav Ganguly, Naba Bhattacharjee of the Meghalaya Cricket Association and Jay Shah, the joint-secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association. The panel had been asked to submit a report with the list of difficulties by July 10. Ganguly and Mathews, though, did not attend the meeting on Saturday as they were traveling.