The Telegraph
Sunday , August 7 , 2016

Katju says SC ruling on Lodha reforms at BCCI is 'unconstitutional, illegal'

New Delhi, Aug 7 (Agencies): The Supreme Court's decision to back the reforms at BCCI suggested by the Justice R.M. Lodha committee report is 'unconstitutional and illegal', according to Markandey Katju, the former apex court judge roped in by the BCCI to advise to advise it.

Katju agreed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India needs reforms, as laid out by the Lodha committee. Lodha, a former chief justice of the Supreme Court, was asked to suggest administrative reforms and clean up BCCI.

On July 18, the Supreme Court accepted most of the recommendations of the committee, banning politicians and bureaucrats from holding posts, among other things.

"We allow most of the recommendations of the Justice Lodha panel," Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, who has since retired, had said.

Katju said the Supreme Court can't start making laws.

”What the Supreme Court has done is unconstitutional and illegal. ... If judiciary starts making laws, one is setting a dangerous precedent,” Katju said at a media conference.

Katju said he has advised the Board to file a review petition before a larger bench of the apex court and not to meet the Committee as scheduled on August 9, terming the panel as “null and void”.

”I have advised them (BCCI) to file a review petition before a larger bench. In this case, the Supreme Court outsourced a committee (referring to Lodha Committee) to decide on BCCI's punishment,” he said.

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke however said that the BCCI will study the interim report prepared by Katju and then take a call.

”The Supreme Court had appointed the Lodha Committee to find the defects in working of BCCI. That was okay. When the Lodha Committee Report was submitted to the Supreme Court, it should have been forwarded to Parliament and State Legislatures. It then should have been left to legislature to accept or not to accept the recommendations. Judiciary is not supposed to legislate,” Katju said, elaborating his viewpoint.

He gave examples of cases where a larger bench with four or five judges have handled serious issues.

Katju's take is that since BCCI's constitution has been prepared in line with the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, neither the Supreme Court nor the Lodha Committee can force changes in the BCCI by-laws.

Katju said both the Supreme Court and Lodha Committee violated Tamil Nadu Societies Registrar Act.

"They have their own Memorandum and by laws. If you want to change the constitution, a special resolution needs to be passed by 2/3rd of majority. The society alone can amend the bylaws. There can be complaints on financial irregularities or administrative lapses, one has to write to Registrar of Societies,” Katju said.

As for reforms at BCCI, Katju had a counter argument.

”If we speak about reforms in BCCI, then reforms are needed in judiciary also. There are more than 3 crore cases pending in Indian courts. And if this dangerous trend starts, tomorrow, the Supreme Court might dictate editorial policies of press, tenure of journalists. It will then open a Pandora's Box.”

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