The Supreme Court has appointed four eminent personalities from varying backgrounds to a panel of administrators to oversee the running of the BCCI until the board can hold fresh elections for office bearers as per the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.
The panel, which will be chaired by Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, consists of Ramachandra Guha, the historian and cricket writer, Diana Edulji, the former India women's captain, and Vikram Limaye, managing director and CEO of IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation).
The committee of administrators will take charge with immediate effect and liaise with BCCI's chief executive officer Rahul Johri, who will oversee the daily administration of the board. Johri had been put in charge of the board until this committee was appointed in an interim order on January 20.
The court had originally suggested that the amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium and senior legal counsel Anil Diwan draw up a list of people who could serve on the committee. But during the last hearing on January 24, the court expressed reservations about the presence of some names on the submitted list because they were over 70 years old.
The court then asked the BCCI, some state associations, and the federal government - represented by Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi - to submit three names each by January 27 in a sealed envelope. All four members appointed today were part of the nine-person list submitted by Subramanium and Diwan on January 20. The court rejected Rohatgi's suggestion that the secretary of the Sports Ministry be appointed on the committee of administrators because the one of the Lodha Committee recommendations was no government servant should be an administrator.
The need for such a committee came about after the Supreme Court removed BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke from their posts on January 2 for not implementing the majority of the Lodha committee's recommendations, despite being told to do so by a Supreme Court order on July 18, 2016.
In that January order, the court also ordered the other office bearers of the BCCI and state associations, who did not meet the eligibility criteria set by the Lodha Committee, to step down. The criteria, as laid out in the Lodha Committee recommendations, stipulated than an office bearer should be a citizen of India, should not be 70 years or older, should not be a government servant or minister, should not hold office in another sports organisation, should not have held office with the BCCI or state association for more than nine years, should not be insolvent or of unsound mind, and should not have a criminal record.
As they have done through the case, the BCCI continued to put up resistance on Monday. Datar told the court that several of the Lodha Committee recommendations had already been implemented. But Gopal Shankaranarayan, the Lodha Committee secretary, countered and told Datar this was not the case, that the BCCI and many state associations had ignored the original timelines within which the recommendations were to be implemented. It was consequent to this, Shankaranarayan said, the Lodha Committee submitted a status report recommending the BCCI be run by court-appointed administrator.
The court asked Shankaranaryanan to provide the timelines to Datar, who would pass them on to Johri. The court directed the committee of administrators to seek a compliance report from Johri within a week.
The court also asked the committee of administrators to submit, through a status report, the extent of implementation of the Lodha Committee recommendations at both BCCI and state level since the original judgement on July 18 last year, which approved the recommendations. "The Committee shall scrutinise the compliance and submit a status report before this Court within four weeks from today," the court said in its order. The court will hear the matter at its next hearing on March 27.
Shankaranarayanan checked with the three-judge bench whether BCCI office bearers would cease to play a role now that the committee of administrators had been appointed. "The court says very clearly there will be committee of administrators and the CEO will report to them," Shankaranarayanan told ESPNcricinfo. "The administrators are replacing the office bearers."
The Lodha Committee was formed in January 2015 to determine appropriate punishments for some of the officials involved in the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, and also to propose changes to streamline the BCCI, reform its functioning, prevent sporting fraud and conflict of interest.
In January 2016, the Lodha Committee released its report, which recommended an exhaustive overhaul of the BCCI's governance and administrative structures. On July 18, the Supreme Court approved the majority of those recommendations and directed the Lodha Committee to supervise their implementation by the BCCI. However, the board did not cooperate because its state associations objected to the recommendations. The impasse eventually culminated in the removal of Thakur and Shirke and today's appointment.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo