Supreme Court tweaks its order of July 2016

Chief Justice Dipak Misra

Calcutta: The Supreme Court of India, on Thursday, approved the new constitution of the BCCI that was drawn up by the Committee of Administrators based on the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha committee's recommendations to restructure the board.

However, the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud modified some of the points from the apex court's historic order of July 18, 2016.

The following is a comparative analysis of some of the key points:

• One State - One Vote

Order of July 18, 2016: The One State-One Vote norm was accepted by the Court. The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat each have three associations and field three separate teams each in the Ranji Trophy. Accepting the Justice RM Lodha committee's recommendations, the Court had said both the states would have just one vote each like the other members in the board. The vote for such a state would rotate among its multiple associations on a yearly basis. So, only one association from each state would have been able to exercise the rights and privileges of a full member on an annual basis by rotation, while the other two associations would act as associate members of the BCCI.

Order of August 9, 2018: The Court said: "We are of the view that it is necessary to restore full membership in the constitution of the BCCI to the three associations each in the State of Maharashtra (Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha) and in Gujarat (Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra). During the course of the hearing, written submissions have been placed on the record in which the contributions of Baroda, Saurashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha have been set out.

"These associations have a long and abiding history of nurturing talent for the game of cricket in India. The history of cricket in India is replete with their contribution to the cause of cricket. These associations have produced players who have brought laurels to their states and to the nation... Having due regard to the contributions made by Mumbai and Vidarbha in the State of Maharashtra and by Baroda and Saurashtra in the State of Gujarat to the game of cricket, it would be appropriate to also grant them full membership of the BCCI."

• Associate membership

Order of July 18, 2016: The non-state members of the BCCI - Cricket Club of India (CCI), National Cricket Club (NCC), Railways, Services and All India Universities - would be reduced to associate members and would have no voting rights.

Order of August 9, 2018: (On CCI and NCC) The Court said: "We ... maintain the decision not to grant the status of full members to the National Cricket Club and the Cricket Club of India. Neither of the two Clubs fields teams in the Ranji Trophy. They cannot be placed at par with the other state associations."

(On Railways, Services and All India Universities)

"The contribution of Railways to the cause of Indian Cricket is noteworthy."

The Court quoted the amicus curae on the matter: "Railways fields at least 90% of the members of the Women's Cricket Team, i.e. who play for India in the national team. A question therefore arises whether Railways must be given a full membership. In view of the security of employment of the players from Railways as well as the ability to demonstrate playing skills and having regard to women's cricket as an integral part of Indian Cricket, it appears necessary to consider this as an exception. It is only on these considerations that it is possible to recommend Railways to a full membership. The Amicus is of the opinion that this qualifies to be considered as an exception."

The Court added: "The Services team represents the Armed Forces of the nation. The Services have a long history of association with Indian sports in general and with cricket as well. Having regard to the pre-eminent position occupied by the Services including the Army, Navy and Air Force in propagating the cause of sports and cricket, we are of the view that the same principle which we have followed in the case of Railways should be followed in their case. Similarly, the Universities are a nucleus for encouraging the game of cricket among players of the college going generation in the country. We would therefore also grant full membership to the Association of Indian Universities."

• Number of selectors

Order of July 18, 2016: The Justice Lodha committee had restricted the number of selectors to three and the Court had accepted it.

Order of August 9, 2018: The Court said: "We have been persuaded with the reasons which have been adduced before the Court for enhancing the number of selectors on the Selection Committee from three to five... The vast territory of the nation, the extent of cricket being played both at the national and international level, the need for selectors to travel extensively to spot talent from the pool of cricketers and the need to encourage both domestic and international cricket, are consideration which persuade us to accept the plea for modification in regard to the number of selectors to five."

• Cooling-off period

Order of July 18, 2016: The Lodha committee recommended that (i) the tenure of each term for office bearers of the BCCI and state associations should be three years; (ii) a maximum of three terms should be allowed regardless of the post held; and (iii) there should be a mandatory 'cooling off period' after each term. The Court had accepted the cap on the number of terms (three) and cooling-off period (up to three years) between two terms.

Order of August 9, 2018: The Court said: "... the requirements that the term of office of an office bearer should be three years; and that an individual should not hold office in the BCCI for a period excess of nine years (regardless of the post held) with a similar stipulation of nine years for the state associations is manifestly in public interest. Both the stipulations are valuable safeguards to ensure against the concentration of power.

"The requirement of a cooling off period of three years at the end of every term in office, however, requires careful consideration... In our view, it would be appropriate to direct that a cooling off period of three years would apply after an individual holds two successive terms in office either in the BCCI, or in any state association or a combination of the two... Allowing an individual to act as an office bearer for six years in continuation, is a sufficiently long period for experience and knowledge gained to be deployed in the interest of the game without at the same time resulting in a monopoly of power."

It added: "The expression 'office bearer' should not be permitted to be circumvented by being a member of any other committee or of the Governing Council in BCCI or any state association, as the case may be."


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