Supreme Court defers Sourav Ganguly-Jay Shah matter to mid-August

Next court hearing tentatively scheduled for August 17

Nagraj Gollapudi
The immediate future of the BCCI president and secretary remains unclear  •  Getty Images

The immediate future of the BCCI president and secretary remains unclear  •  Getty Images

The question of whether the BCCI's top two officer bearers - president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah - can carry on in their positions remains unanswered with the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday saying after a short hearing that it will take up the matter again in two weeks' time. It has been listed "tentatively" for August 17.
The BCCI has filed its plea - twice since last December - proposing several amendments to the board's constitution, which, if adopted, could undo some of the most significant reforms recommended by the Lodha Committee. The case was listed to be heard on Wednesday by a two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde and Justice L Nageshwar Rao. During a short hearing, conducted virtually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the court said it would sit again in a couple of weeks to discuss it.
The questions now are: can Ganguly and Shah carry on as office bearers, and in case they do without the court's nod, will it count as an offence? While Ganguly's term reportedly comes to end on July 27, Shah's term has ended in the past month or so, although an exact date could not be confirmed.
Both Ganguly and Shah have been participating in all important BCCI meetings and have also been the board's representatives at various ICC meetings since being elected last October. The next meeting where they could, potentially, make an appearance is the IPL Governing Council meeting this weekend.
As per the BCCI constitution, an office bearer is allowed to serve for two consecutive terms spanning six years (at BCCI or state level or a combination of both) after which a cooling-off period of three years is mandatory. That rule was approved by the apex court in 2018, when it modified the clause concerning the cooling-off period to two terms (six years) instead of the just one (as stated in its 2016 order).
In its second plea filed in April, the BCCI had requested the court to consider the amendments to the board's constitution, including tweaking the cooling-off period of the board's office bearers, modifying the disqualification criteria, giving unprecedented powers to the BCCI secretary, and stopping the court from having any say if the board wants to alter the constitution. The amendments were unanimously approved by the state associations that comprise the BCCI general body.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo