Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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The Mumbai Cricket Association has decided to file an intervention application before the Supreme Court to highlight the "difficulties and inconsistencies" in the Lodha Committee's report, making it potentially the first member unit of the BCCI to seek clarity on the committee's recommendations. According to an MCA official, the key concerns highlighted in the application are the age limit of 70 for the office bearers, the cooling off period between terms in office, and bringing state associations under the purview of the RTI.
Should the recommendations be accepted in their present form, it will become untenable for the incumbent president, Sharad Pawar, who is well over 70, to continue in office. MCA vice-president Ashish Shelar said the association was seeking advice from the Supreme Court on the implementation of the recommendations. "There is no objection. There are some difficulties about implementing [the recommendations] which we will point out to the court," Shelar told ESPNcricinfo.
"Right now the existence of MCA itself is in question [because of the one-state, one-vote recommendation], we will ask the guidance from the court on how to deal with it. We are doing that [pointing out that MCA is the oldest body in the state]."
It has also emerged that many other member units, including the KSCA, TNCA and the Cricket Club of India, are likely to follow suit and file similar applications in the coming days. An official of the CCI, which according to the Lodha report has "no cause" to be treated as a Full Member, said after the SGM on Friday that it was contemplating an intervention application. "Our contributions to the BCCI over the years have been significant," he said. "We will present our arguments to the Supreme Court."
The TNCA, it is learnt, is likely to be among the last few associations to make the intervention plea. "We are going to wait for associations like Mumbai and Maharashtra to make the first move," a TNCA source said. "Because of the whole CSK episode we don't want to be seen by the court to be in the forefront in opposing [the recommendations]."
Meanwhile, the BCCI is expected to file its affidavit - one that will point out the "anomalies and difficulties" encountered in implementing the recommendations - in the next few days. According to a source privy to the goings on at the SGM on Friday, the BCCI was required to submit the affidavit "around February 25 or 26," about a week before the deadline of March 3 that the Supreme Court had given for the BCCI to inform if it could implement the Lodha report.
The source also said that the BCCI had encouraged its member units to file intervention applications to the Supreme Court, as each member had specific concerns that needed to be raised individually. BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had in fact said after the SGM that the board could not stop the state associations from filing pleas to the Supreme Court.
In an oral submission before the Supreme court on January 25, the Cricket Association of Bihar, the original petitioner, had sought a full implementation of the Lodha report.The BCCI's legal counsel said the board found certain anomalies in the report and needed more time to further review the recommendations. Justice TS Thakur dismissed the request for any extension, and said the court was going to accept the Lodha report completely and implement it if the BCCI did not inform the court before the March 3 deadline.
The Lodha committee, appointed by the Supreme Court in January 2015, recommended a complete overhaul of Indian cricket. Its report covered every aspect of the game with special focus on the BCCI's administrative and governance structures and the issue of transparency.