Former BCCI president N Srinivasan has challenged Committee of Administrators' chairman Vinod Rai's assertion that the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) stands to be disqualified from attending the BCCI elections, scheduled for October 23, if its constitution is not amended in line with that of the board.
Srinivasan, also a former ICC chairman but not an official in either the TNCA or the BCCI anymore, argued that the CoA was attempting to force state associations to comply with the BCCI constitution as a "pressure ploy", but that would only mean members losing their legal rights.
"I, for one, am not able to connect the eligibility to vote as a Full Member in the AGM and amendments to the members' constitution unless the BCCI elections are being held as a pressure ploy to get the members to give up their legal rights and adopt a servient attitude," Srinivasan was quoted as saying by Sportstar on Sunday. "I'm reminded of a quote by Robert A. Heinlein: 'There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him'."
Srinivasan, who was TNCA president for more than a decade, had to step down after the Supreme Court approved the RM Lodha Committee recommendations on structural reforms. However, last week, Rupa Gurunath, Srinivasan's daughter, became the first-ever woman to head an Indian state cricket association when she was unanimously elected as the new TNCA president.
"Abide by the directives of the CoA, or forfeit your right to vote in the AGM is not a stand which Mr Vinod Rai can take. He nor the CoA can substitute their wisdom for that of the Supreme Court" N Srinivasan
Rupa also happens to be the wife of Gurunath Meiyappan, a former official at Chennai Super Kings - owned by Srinivasan's India Cements - who was banned for life by the BCCI after it was established that he had breached the anti-corruption code.
On the same day the new TNCA administration took charge, the CoA told the TNCA that its constitution was not compliant with the BCCI's, with several eligibility criteria flouted. This was followed by an email by BCCI electoral officer N Gopalaswami sending out an email to all state associations stating that non-compliant members would not be allowed to attend the BCCI elections and the annual general meeting, and disqualified state representatives would not be able to participate in the board's polls. Rai reiterated the same.
According to Srinivasan, the final say on the matter can only be taken by the court, which had passed an order on September 20 allowing TNCA to conduct its polls, but said the results would be held in abeyance until its final order.
Srinivasan also said that P Narsimha, the amicus curiae who had been asked by the court to act as a mediator to facilitate the states to comply with its original order, had been "receptive" to the TNCA argument. "I'm told that the learned amicus curiae was receptive to many of the requests of the TNCA and has filed an interim report in court which is yet to be seen by the Supreme Court," Srinivasan said. "Therefore, abide by the directives of the CoA, or forfeit your right to vote in the AGM is not a stand which Mr Vinod Rai can take. He nor the CoA can substitute their wisdom for that of the Supreme Court."
Srinivasan said the court was yet to hear the TNCA case as well as the pleas of other states at length, so the CoA could not pass any diktat right away. "The CoA was told elections would go on and all matters would be decided later, including the outcome of the elections," Srinivasan said. "Earlier, the TNCA had made clear its stand on three basic issues: having at least two vice-presidents, one representing the 150 city club members and another from the 30 district associations, opposition to the applicability of eligibility criteria for committee members and the stipulation that for any amendment in future, the Supreme Court's approval was necessary."