Ousted/disqualified cricket administrators are exploring legal options to challenge the Lodha Committee’s latest set of directives, and according to a source, “some state association” might file an interim application “before January 19”, when the Supreme Court is likely to name a panel of administrators to oversee the implementation of the Lodha reforms.
A large chunk of the ‘ineligible’ BCCI and state association officials claim that some of the directives, issued through a set of FAQs last Thursday, are a “departure” from the apex court order. They also question the Indian squad’s selection for the ongoing limited-overs series against England that went ahead with the Lodha Committee’s approval.
Removal of Ashish Kapoor and Amit Sharma from the junior selection panel, to trim it to three in accordance with the Lodha reforms, has also caused disgruntlement among the ousted officials.
The January 2 Supreme Court order stated: “The role of the Justice RM Lodha Committee shall hereafter be confined to overall policy and direction on such matters as may be referred by this Court.” As per the interpretation of a section of former BCCI office-bearers, the order doesn’t authorise the Lodha Committee to take decisions on issues like Indian team selection or prevent the ousted/disqualified officials from returning to the cricket board as nominees of their respective state associations. “None of those matters were referred by the court,” said a former cricket board official.
The Lodha Committee posted the FAQs on its website upon receiving various queries on different matters related to the BCCI. Item No. 2 appears to be the real bone of contention. It debars the ousted/disqualified BCCI office-bearers from returning to the cricket board even as nominees of their respective state associations. The disqualified officials can’t even function in their own associations as advisors or patrons, or be in a committee or council. This, the Lodha Committee says, is “in keeping with the spirit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s judgment”.
“Full Member associations hold a right to nominate their own representatives to the BCCI. No court order has taken that away. As because this is a PIL, any aggrieved party/association or individual can file an interim application,” a senior BCCI person, who is also an eminent lawyer, observed.
“Having highest respect towards the Hon’ble Supreme Court Committee and their valued decision making processes, with utmost humility, I believe that such fresh modus as informed on January 12, 2017 is not merely a complete departure from the prudent stand of qualifying the ‘disqualifications’, but also misconstruing the expression ‘OR’ in the solemn order of January 3, 2017 of the Hon’ble Apex Court,” the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) legal counsel and former BCCI legal advisor UN Banerjee mentioned in a recent write-up to the PTI.
A source close to the Lodha Committee, however, described the new set of directives as part of the implementation process of the reforms, accepted by the Supreme Court in its July 18, 2016 order. “The Supreme Court has directed the Lodha Committee to supervise the implementation of the reforms. The Committee is just doing that. No court order has asked the Committee to stop the implementation process,” he said, adding: “Considering these are honorary posts, why should they (disqualified BCCI and state associations officials) be concerned? The Committee already has the authority.”
Courtesy: The Indian Express