BCCI vs Lodha panel: Suspense continues, Supreme Court order reserved

New Delhi : Media personnel fix their cameras in a lawn of Supreme Court during a hearing on the BCCI versus Justice Lodha panel case in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla   (PTI10_6_2016_000121B)

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to consider imposing monetary sanctions on the BCCI until the cricketing body implements reforms mooted by the Lodha panel. The court reserved its orders on issues such as fixing a limit on money the BCCI could use, and seeking the Lodha panel’s approval for all financial contracts and agreements.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said that replacing the BCCI office-bearers with a body of independent administrator was an “extreme option” available to the court, which could begin by exercising other options that are “equally effective”.

“Should there be an embargo on withdrawal of money beyond a certain amount? Should they go to Justice Lodha panel whenever they want to enter into a financial contract? We will examine all that,” said the bench, reserving its order.

It observed that the court could not help the BCCI unless the latter makes its stand clear on all the recommendations by the Lodha panel that the Board has accepted and also those which it would implement within a time frame.

“We want to understand what are your genuine problems. But at every stage there appears to be defiance and obstruction,” said the bench.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal, representing the BCCI, pointed out that they had issues with one state-one vote policy and were also against taking away the votes from the founder clubs.

“This would not help transparency. We already have three north-east states as full-time members. Giving votes to other north-east states, which do not have the infrastructure and where the game of cricket is not popular, may lead to corruption as others could seek their votes in lieu of money and favour,” said Sibal.

He added that the BCCI would have to “persuade” state associations to adopt the resolution regarding the new memorandum of association, as proposed by the Lodha panel. “Give us some time. It is not that we have not implemented anything. But we need some time. We will file a detailed affidavit to inform this court what all we have done and what we propose do in the next few months,” Sibal submitted.

The senior lawyer also complained that the Lodha panel had issued directions that were beyond the purview of the judgment of the apex court, apart from having no nexus with the cause of transparency.

“If Lodha panel wants to run cricket, that is not the purport of the court’s judgment. How does limiting the number of selectors to three help transparency? It has also fixed the calender for the IPL and other matches. What has that to do with transparency? Administration should be left to us. We are willing to do everything about transparency,” Sibal said.

However, senior counsel and amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium said the instances demonstrated that BCCI did not want to accept reforms and had made itself liable to civil and criminal contempt action. he added that the entire top brass ought to be removed if the Lodha panel’s recommendations have to be implemented and that more time should be given to the BCCI only if they undertake unconditionally to abide by all the recommendations.

Source: Indian Express

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