The Indian cricket Board’s resistance to what most believe is a desperate losing battle notwithstanding; the Justice Lodha panel is in no mood to relent and is going ahead with sticking to the timeline given to it by the Supreme Court for implementing its recommendations.
The fate of the Review Petition that the Board has filed against the Supreme Court judgment is not known so far as these petitions are heard in the chamber of the judges without any outside presence. According to most experts, such petitions mostly end up in the court’s dustbins and a curative petition could face a similar fate, if the Board decides to file one after the review petition fails.
According to sources, since there is no stay from the Supreme Court on its own judgment after the review petition was filed, the Lodha panel is strictly adhering to its “4 to 6 months deadline” for the Board to implement its recommendations.
The only reprieve, if one may call it so, the Board has got is that the panel has decided to withdraw one of its recommendations for the formation of the IPL governing council. It has decided to do away with the representation of two representatives of the franchisees in the governing council. “Since the Supreme Court had suggested that the panel review this recommendation, they decided to do away with it altogether,” said a source.
This recommendation, among many others, was challenged by the Board lawyers and even the court appointed amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam had in his final submission said that the franchise representation in the governing council will go against the cannons of transparency and will give rise to a conflict of interest situation.
The Lodha panel, it seems, is in agreement with these observations and now the IPL governing council will be a 7-member body instead of the nine originally suggested. “Since there are two players’ representatives as well as a CAG nominee on the governing council, the interest of the players as well as financial probity will be maintained,” the source said.
From the Board’s perspective, they are trying their best to stall the implementation of these recommendations as it will mean a wipe-out of all its present important office-bearers, from Anurag Thakur to Rajeev Shukla from any decision-making body. All of them have served nine years as office-bearers, either in the state body or in the Board in one capacity or another, thus making them ineligible to hold any post in the administrative set-up.
There is also a lot of anxiety among the Board members as far as the fate of the review petition goes, as they fear that the two-member bench may not take the accusation against the Chief Justice of India being “biased” very lightly. Justice Thakur, who along with Justice Kalifullah pronounced the verdict, will have to choose another Judge in place of Kalifullah who has since retired, to pass orders on the review petition. This two-member bench could well pass strictures as well as hold the Board in contempt for questioning the integrity of the Chief Justice of India. In that case, the very purpose of filing a review petition may not only prove counter-productive, it might even hasten the demise of the Board in its present form.