Waiting for change: On BCCI's reworked constitution


The BCCI is subtly pushing for a rollback of its reworked constitution

Indian cricket operates at two levels as its heroics on the field are often juxtaposed with a state of limbo off the turf. Virat Kohli’s men have relished a scalding hot winning streak and it is a contrast to the slow wheels of change that coursed through the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) over the last few years. The introspective bout started with the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the IPL’s 2013 edition. A few players and officials came under the scanner for under-performance and betting. The Supreme Court stepped in and appointed the Lodha Committee to devise corrective measures besides unveiling a set of administrative reforms within the BCCI. The Committee of Administrators helmed by Vinod Rai, oversaw the implementation of reforms that evoked dogged resistance from the BCCI’s old guard. Eventually, a new dispensation led by president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah took shape. And the much-delayed BCCI annual general meeting held at Mumbai, after a gap of three years, on Sunday, was expected to take the sporting behemoth forward. It partially did that by backing enhanced subsidies for State associations and a higher pay-scale for senior domestic cricketers. Yet, it turned out to be a sluggish exercise as the BCCI sought clarity from the Supreme Court on some constitutional amendments that the former seeks to make.

The powers of its office-bearers, the tenure of its president and secretary, a relaxation of the age-cap of 70 specific to its representative at the International Cricket Council and an exemption from seeking the Supreme Court’s approval for every amendment to its constitution are the various factors about which the board has requested a second gaze from the law. These issues were seemingly sorted through the Lodha Committee’s reworked constitution but in seeking the court’s clarification, the BCCI is pushing for a rollback without trying to be seen as confrontational. The Lodha reforms were aimed at removing the veil of bias that often blinds any old boys’ club. Transparency was its byword but some of its suggested rules were constricting. For instance the insistence that an office-bearer who has served two terms of three years each, be it at the State or board level, has to compulsorily take a three-year cooling-off period can go against the grain of cumulative wisdom acquired over the years. It is a rule that would mean the current president and secretary will have to relinquish office within a year as both Ganguly and Shah have already served five years in their respective State associations — Bengal and Gujarat. The Supreme Court may reshape some rules and its last word is essential to lubricate Indian cricket’s conveyor belt.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 5:16:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/waiting-for-change-on-bccis-reworked-constitution/article30152621.ece

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