The Indian cricket board could face the Supreme Court’s ire for deciding to go against its July 18 order to cooperate with the Justice RM Lodha committee, which has suggested major reforms in the influential sports body.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to follow former top court judge Markandey Katju’s advice to ignore summons by the Lodha panel to appear before it on Tuesday. The board’s stand would amount to contempt of court.
BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke wrote to the panel on Sunday night, asking for the meeting to be deferred. However, the request was turned down.
In its response the following day, the committee said it was too late to defer the meeting. It pointed out that its communication, asking BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Shirke to appear before it, was sent 20 days ago.
“We have not received any reply yet. So, we are assuming the BCCI president and secretary are coming to meet the committee tomorrow,” a source in the panel said.
Though BCCI officials were not available for comments, the board is apparently planning to file a review petition in the apex court against the July 18 order. The petition will go before the special bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur. A two-judge bench headed by him had given the verdict on the Lodha panel report.
The Supreme Court order says: “Should any impediments arise, the committee shall be free to seek appropriate directions from this court by filing a status report in that regard.”
This means BCCI boss Thakur and secretary Shirke could invite court action if they do not appear before the panel.
“The committee will go ahead with the reforms in the BCCI, and also inform the Chief Justice’s bench in its status report that BCCI president and secretary are not cooperating. This is a contempt of court and committee will recommend removal of the president and secretary,” a source said.
The BCCI’s decision to appoint Justice Katju as adviser has raised questions. It could also be counted as a violation of rules laid down in the Constitution, which says a former Supreme Court judge cannot represent any party after retirement.
The Lodha panel was appointed by the top court to look into the functioning of the world’s richest cricket board, and suggest changes. In its report, the panel recommends age and tenure restrictions for top BCCI officials, besides suggesting ways to clean up the country’s national past-time mired in betting and match-fixing scandals.