In December 2019, the BCCI had approached the Supreme Court of India
to modify its own judgement of 2018, which asked for several amendments to the cricket board's constitution. On September 14 this year, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court - Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli - accepted a majority of those amendments
, thus rolling back to a large extent the reforms recommended by the RM Lodha committee in 2016, which were meant to revamp the BCCI's functioning and structure.
Here, ESPNcricinfo unpacks the court's judgment to explain the changes that will take effect after this latest update.
Note: The amendments were suggested by senior legal counsel Maninder Singh, who was the amicus curiae (an impartial advisor) for the case.
The constitution says that an office-bearer who has held any post for two consecutive terms (three years per term), at a state association or in the BCCI or a combination of the two, shall not be eligible to contest an election without completing a cooling-off period of three years. During the cooling-off period, the person cannot serve in any capacity at either the BCCI or at the state level.
The BCCI proposed that its two most powerful office-bearers - the president and the secretary - should be allowed to serve two consecutive terms solely at the BCCI before the cooling-off period kicks in. The person cannot return in any capacity during the hiatus and/or contest elections. And the remaining office-bearers (three) should be allowed to finish the maximum tenure of nine years (three consecutive terms) at one stretch.
Amendment: An office-bearer who has held any post for two consecutive terms in the BCCI shall not be eligible to contest any further election in the BCCI without completing a cooling-off period of three years. Also, if a person has served two consecutive terms each in a state association and in the BCCI, or vice versa, without any break (12 years in total), such person shall not be eligible to contest any further election in a state association or in the BCCI, without completing a cooling-off period of three years. While serving the cooling-off period, the person shall not be a member of any committee whatsoever of the BCCI or of a state association. The term "office-bearer" cannot be circumvented by allowing the person to be a member of a committee or of the BCCI governing council or any state association, as the case may be.
The court's rationale: The cooling-off period is neither "diluted" nor "abrogated" if the three-year break takes effect once the office-bearer has complete two consecutive terms at the same level in the BCCI or a state association.
The constitution says that a person can be disqualified from being an office-bearer or a member of the IPL governing council or any other board committee, or from being sent to the ICC as a BCCI representative, if s/he is one or more of: over 70 years of age; is insolvent or of unsound mind; has finished a cumulative period of nine years as office-bearer at the BCCI or a state association separately; is a government minister or government servant or holds public office; is part of any other sport's governing body; has been charged of criminal offence by a court of law.
The BCCI proposed that a different set of disqualification rules - one for the office-bearers and members of the board's apex council, and another for members of the IPL governing council and other board committees - be put in place.
With regards to the office-bearers and apex council members, the BCCI has retained some of the original rules, including the age cap of 70, but removed certain other criteria. These include holding public office, which the BCCI said was too wide a definition. It has also proposed that if an office-bearer has finished nine years cumulatively at a state association, s/he can still continue to serve at the BCCI. Also, being a member of another sport's administration should not be a deterrent, the BCCI said. And, if a person faces a criminal charge, s/he needs to be "convicted... and sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than three years" to be disqualified.
The same rules were proposed for members of the IPL governing council and other board committees, with one addition - the age cap of 70 would not apply to them.
Amendment: A person shall be disqualified from being an office-bearer, a member of the BCCI apex council, IPL governing council, or any other BCCI committee, if s/he fulfils any of the following criteria: is not a citizen of India; is 70 or older; is declared insolvent; is a minister or government servant; has been an office-bearer of the BCCI for nine years; has been convicted by a court of law for commission of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.
The court's rationale: The court agreed to a majority of the amendments, including of the person in question being disqualified if s/he is convicted of a criminal offence, but did not accept the condition that the charge had to be attached to an imprisonment of three years.
Empowering the secretary
The constitution says that the BCCI secretary shall essentially record the minutes of key BCCI meetings, while delegating other work to the joint-secretary.
The BCCI proposed that its secretary would assume supreme powers in all matters, including cricket, as opposed to being a "mere minor functionary" with "curbed" powers as stated in the constitution. "The management personnel, the staff and the CEO shall work under the direct supervision, control and direction of the secretary," the BCCI said.
Amendment: The secretary will have "all powers in relation to cricketing and non-cricketing matters" and the BCCI management, including the CEO, will work under his or her "direct supervision, control and direction".
The court's rationale: The court accepted the amendment as well as another change proposed, about the daily management of the BCCI, which, as per the constitution, was to be handled by the CEO. The court accepted that the day-to-day functions should be conducted by the management team in both cricketing and non‐cricketing matters, "under the direct supervision, direction and control of the respective office-bearers".
Secretary should be the point person for the apex council
The constitution says that the nine-member apex council, which has replaced the working committee of the BCCI, will supervise the functioning of the CEO, the cricket committees and all other committees in the board barring the IPL governing council. The apex council will also have the powers to take action against, or defend, office-bearers or officials of the board.
The BCCI proposed that the secretary, and not the CEO as the constitution says, should be the point person for the apex council. The BCCI wanted the apex council to oversee the functioning of the CEO as well all the committees via the secretary. Also, instead of the apex council, the secretary would have the powers to take action against, or defend, office-bearers or other employees.
The court accepted the proposal.
Taking the court out of equation
The constitution says that any amendment to the rules of the BCCI constitution would need a three-fourths majority of the board's general body, comprising all state associations. In addition, final approval would need to come from the Supreme Court for the amendment to kick in.
The BCCI proposed that the BCCI constitution be "repealed, added to, amended or altered" by three-fourths majority of the elected and eligible representatives of the general body, with the court having no role in the process.
The BCCI had not "pressed" for the above amendment. That means the BCCI will need to appeal to the court in the future for this.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo