Fearing legal backlash, BCCI prunes legal panel

  • Jasvinder Sidhu, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 06, 2016 15:35 IST
BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke were left red-faced. (AFP)

New Delhi: The Indian cricket board has made a quick retreat following adverse reaction to its naming a four-member panel of legal experts headed by former Supreme Court judge, Markandey Katju, to tackle the Justice RM Lodha committee recommendations.

Aware of another legal backlash and possible contempt of court, BCCI on Friday informed its state associations at its Special General Meeting (SGM) that it would only be a one-man panel with Katju the sole member.

The BCCI had at its working committee meeting in Mumbai on Tuesday announced the four-member panel, only to be told by the Lodha committee that it had asked only the board president and secretary to meet it on August 9.

According a senior board member who attended the SGM, Katju’s role would be unofficial and only president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke would meet the Lodha panel.

However, BCCI officials were tight-lipped about what role Katju would play. “We have not decided yet who will meet the Lodha committee. We will let you know when we decide,” Shirke told HT.

However, there is scepticism among the officials. Some feel the BCCI was poorly advised to form a legal panel.

“This is pure stupidity. They are inviting fresh trouble for all of us. I don’t know who is advising them,” a senior BCCI member said.

Sources within the Lodha committee feel the forming of such a panel would be in contempt of the Supreme Court’s July 18 order ratifying the report on reforming the sports body.

The judgement clearly says the Lodha committee would implement its recommendations over six months and BCCI must assist in that overhaul.

Para 92 of the order says, “Needless to say that the BCCI and all concerned shall cooperate and act in aid of the committee and its directives.

“Should any impediments arise, the committee shall be free to seek appropriate directions from this court by filing a status report.”

The appointment of Justice Katju is also being seen as violating the constitution, which says a former Supreme Court judge cannot represent any party after retirement.

“It’s for the Lodha committee to decide whom it has to meet. We have specifically asked for BCCI president Thakur and secretary Shirke to appear on August 9. So, both should appear, not anybody else,” Gopal Sankaranarayanan, secretary to the panel had said after the BCCI announced the new legal group.

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