SC boost for BCCI

SC boost for BCCI

The Supreme Court on Thursday approved BCCIs new draft constitution with some modifications, effectively diluting its earlier order on a tenure cap for office bearers and reinstating voting rights of four legacy cricket associations

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday approved BCCI's new draft constitution with some modifications, effectively diluting its earlier order on a tenure cap for office bearers and reinstating voting rights of four legacy cricket associations.

In a string of rulings in the long-running case involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the apex court, however, warned state associations that they face action if they don't adopt the new constitution in the next 30 days.

While some associations have promised to adopt the charter -- written in compliance with the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee -- most continue to oppose it on the grounds that it puts a cap on the age and tenure of office bearers.

The ruling, especially on the "cooling-off" norm as well as "one-state, one vote", comes as a relief to BCCI, which has questioned the feasibility of the Lodha recommendations.

The committee had recommended a cooling off period after just one tenure, instead of two.

It had also recommended the "one-state, one-vote" policy, due to which some city and regional cricket associations like Mumbai and Saurashtra had lost their place in BCCI, which was allowed to give membership only to state associations.

The Supreme Court, in its July 18, 2016 verdict, accepted most of the recommendations of the Lodha committee,which was formed in January 2015 under retired Justice R M Lodha's charge with the aim to reform the BCCI following charges of large-scale maladministration in the cash-rich cricket body.

Wednesday’s ruling waters down key recommendations of the panel.
Among them, the Supreme Court reinstated the memberships of Mumbai, Saurashtra, Vadodara and Vidarbha, all associations with a rich history in domestic cricket whose voting rights were taken away by the Lodha committee.

In approving the draft constitution, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also asked the registrar general of Tamil Nadu Societies to bring on record the approved BCCI constitution within four weeks. The BCCI's constitution is registered in Tamil Nadu.

The bench -- also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud -- restored permanent membership to Railways, Services and Universities, which are not full cricket associations but are "boards".

On July 5, the apex court had restrained all state cricket bodies from holding elections till it pronounced the verdict on finalisation of the draft constitution of the BCCI.

The Lodha panel had recommended a slew of structural reforms in BCCI which were approved by the apex court. The court had approved these recommendations, including 'one state, one vote', 'one member, one post' and fixing an age cap of 70 years on those occupying BCCI posts.

In the earlier hearing, the counsel for Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) had opposed the cooling-off period for the office bearers suggested by the Lodha panel, and said there should be continuity of experience. The TNCA had also objected to the age cap of 70 years for office bearers as suggested by the panel.

The top court had earlier asked state cricket associations and BCCI office-bearers to give suggestions on the draft constitution for the apex cricket body to the amicus, saying these have to be in tune with the Lodha panel recommendations and its verdict.

The Lodha panel was formed in the wake of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee report that called for reforms in the BCCI. The Mudgal panel had gone into the state of affairs of the BCCI, following the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing controversy.

The Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai, on Thursday, welcomed the Supreme Court order on mandatory cooling off period for Board of Control for Cricket in India office-bearers after two consecutive terms and for putting a roadmap in place for the Board's elections.

The original Lodha Committee reforms suggested only one term of three years before mandatory cooling off.

''This is an excellent order by the Honourable Court. I have absolutely no problem with office-bearers having two consecutive terms,” he said.

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