The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear the BCCI’s response to the Lodha Committee’s report that sought the ouster of the board’s top brass, including president Anurag Thakur, for non-compliance of its recommendations.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is no stranger to defending itself at the Supreme Court down the years. But never has the influential body come anywhere near being caught in such a bruising battle as it is currently waging.
In the mid-2000s, a petition was filed by Zee Telefilms Limited after the board cancelled TV rights initially awarded to it. Zee had to first establish before the five-judge SC bench that the BCCI was a public body and then file a writ petition. But the board managed to assert that it was a private organisation, registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Act and hence not answerable to a writ petition.
Here’s a look at the current saga between the board and the Supreme Court:
1. The latest case started after the BCCI was dragged to the Supreme Court in the wake of the 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal.
2. Then board president, N Srinivasan, faced a conflict of interest case over owning the Chennai Super Kings IPL team while being a senior office-bearer, after a key BCCI rule was tweaked to facilitate the purchase ahead of the inaugural edition in 2008.
3. Aditya Verma, secretary of the unrecognised Cricket Association of Bihar, pushed for action against Srinivasan, demanding the Tamil Nadu industrialist step down after his son-in-law and CSK official, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested by the Mumbai Police for illegally betting on IPL matches.
4. Srinivasan argued that Meiyappan was a mere enthusiast. But the Apex court asked him to ‘step aside’ till the case was decided.
5. A controversial two-member BCCI panel gave a clean chit to Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, but the decision was struck down by the Supreme Court.
6. The SC ordered a probe into the IPL scandal by former high court judge, Mukul Mudgal. It appointed a three-member panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, in January, 2015 to decide on the punishment for CSK and RR and the two officials involved as well as suggest reforms in the board to prevent such problems in future.
7. The Lodha panel banned Meiyappan and Kundra from cricket for life and suspended CSK and RR, both former IPL champions, for two years, keeping them out of the 2016 and 2017 editions.
8. In comprehensive reforms announced by the Lodha panel, the BCCI office-bearers were barred from holding more than one office at a time, and all officials were restricted to three terms with a ‘cooling off’ period in between.
9. The Lodha panel ruled that one state can have only one vote, to usher in equality and recommended putting in place an administrative structure controlled by professionals. It also barred politicians from office.
10. The BCCI has staunchly opposed the decisions, and still argues that it is a private body under the societies act, though the court has ruled that it carries out a public function.
11. On July 18, the Supreme Court accepted the Lodha panel report and directed its time-bound implementation. But BCCI has raised many objections to it.
12. BCCI has taken steps to usher in transparency and toning up the administration by appointing a CEO and putting out financial transactions on its website. But it opposes the root-and-branch changes as directed by the three-member Lodha committee.
13. The Lodha panel, in a status report to the Supreme Court, suggested the removal of top BCCI office-bearers and bringing the body under a new administrator to implement the reforms in full.
14. The BCCI has also filed a review petition opposing the Lodha panel directives, which is expected to be heard on Friday.
15. In Thursday’s hearing, the Supreme Court will study the BCCI response opposing the Lodha panel diktats. It could also pass orders based on the Lodha panel’s status report.