Cricket

Are you refusing to be reformed, SC asks BCCI

Supreme Court asked why the Board was against Lodha panel's recommendation to have a nominee from the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) office on board.

Supreme Court asked why the Board was against Lodha panel's recommendation to have a nominee from the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) office on board.  

The hearing before a Bench of Chief Justices of India on Friday witnessed a face-off between the apex court and the BCCI.

The powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) blamed the Supreme Court of crossing judicial limits to interfere in its private affairs like internal management, flow of finances worth thousands of crores earned from distributing media rights for matches and membership patterns, prompting the court to ask the Board whether it is “refusing to be reformed”.

The hearing before a Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and F.M.I. Kalifulla on Friday witnessed a face-off between the apex court and the BCCI.

The BCCI's aggressiveness in court culminated weeks of underlying tensions following sweeping changes recommended by the Supreme Court's committee headed by former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha in the membership patterns of the Board, its structure, elections, eligibility for office-bearers like 70-year age cap and bar on government ministers in cricket administration to usher transparency and accountability in Indian cricket.

The BCCI, represented by senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, said any interference in its basic character and functioning was a violation of its fundamental rights under Article 19 (1) (c) (right to form associations) of the Indian Constitution.

“This is a private body and can arrange it matters in whatever way it wants. Memberships are part of internal management. In case of complaints, approach the Registrar, Co-operative Societies or the police station or the court. There has been no instance of malfeasance to trigger interference which will change the very character and functioning of the Board,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.

He said it was all very well to say that the court is intervening for the sake of cricket and for the millions who watch the game.

“If that is the case please consider intervening in the case of badminton, football, etc,” Mr. Venugopal said.

Chief Justice Thakur shot back saying the apex court was not interested in controlling table tennis or football or kho kho or kabbadi.

“Every single penny you hold in trust is for the benefit of the game and for those who play and for the millions of cricket lovers who pay you to watch the game... Are you not accountable to them? Are you refusing to be reformed?” Chief Justice Thakur asked.

The Chief Justice asked why the Board was against > Lodha panel's recommendation to have a nominee from the Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) office on board.

“You say a CAG nominee will be in defiance of ICC Rules. But you have government ministers on board... are that also not defiance of ICC Rules?” Chief Justice Thakur asked.

The apex court said the Lodha Committee recommendations was not meant to shrink the stature of BCCI, but only to help the Board perform its public functions in the best way.

“The committee does not take away your powers, money or authority... But here you say you are happy the way you are. You say you don't want to reform...” Chief Justice Thakur said.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:36:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/supreme-court-questions-bccis-commitment-to-lodha-panel-recomendations/article8452093.ece

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