oppn parties SC Approves BCCI Constitution But Waters Down Several Clauses

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SC Approves BCCI Constitution But Waters Down Several Clauses

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court has approved the new constitution for the BCCI, based on the recommendations of the RM Lodha Committee, and has asked the body and its affiliated associations to put it in place within four weeks. But the court has watered down three of the most far-reaching recommendations of the committee. This can be seen as a big relief for the sports body.

The court has restored voting rights to both multiple associations from a single state and the other bodies like Railways, Services and Universities. This has effectively junked the one state one vote principle espoused by the Lodha committee to make things even and do away with the weightage some states gained by having multiple votes. The court has said that keeping in mind the immense contribution associations like Mumbai, Baroda and Saurashtra have made to the development of the game, it is best to keep their voting rights intact. But this is a specious argument as some princely states had also made immense contributions in developing India. But were they not integrated with the nation after independence? Gujarat and Maharashtra get undue weightage in voting and this can lead to building of power cartels within the BCCI, which is the main thing the Supreme Court wants to demolish. Hence, it is improper not to implement one state one vote principle.

The other bodies were sought to be denied voting rights to keep out government, ministerial, political or bureaucratic interference as these bodies were arms of the government. But the court has restored their rights too. To keep out interference, the court has decreed that neither the government nor the sports board of these organizations will nominate a representative to the BCCI. Instead, the court has said, they will select an ex-player who represented the teams of these organizations for a place in the BCCI. While this can avoid interference to an extent, is it also not true that the ex-player would have to go by the instructions of either the government or the sports board while voting?

The other big tweak the court has made is allowing concessions in the cooling off period. The Lodha committee had recommended that all administrators would have to cool off for three years after serving a three year term either at the state level or in BCCI. They could serve a maximum of three such terms. The court has changed it to a three year cooling off period but only after two consecutive terms. It has kept the maximum number of terms at three. It was argued on behalf of the BCCI and its state associations that when an administrator moved from the state to the BCCI, continuity would be lost if he was made to cool off before moving up. It was also argued that since cricket is now planned much in future, a six year consecutive term would be better. There is logic in these arguments and hence the court has accepted it. On the other hand it has kept the maximum terms at three to prevent some individuals from hijacking the BCCI by being there perennially. This means that there will be wholesale changes in the composition of top office bearers in the BCCI as most of those who occupy the posts now have been there for more than six years cumulatively and continuously. Some have been there for nine years and will be barred from contesting permanently.