The Supreme Court froze funds distributed to state associations on Friday in a bid to force the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to fall in line and accept the reforms recommended by the Justice RM Lodha committee.
In an interim order, the country’s top court directed that no funds should be distributed by the BCCI to its state units until each one accepted the Lodha panel directives ‘in letter and spirit’. The court also ordered that 13 state associations that had received huge sums from the board following a decision at its September 30 Special General Meeting cannot touch the money.
The court said Rs 16.72 crore each disbursed to the 13 state units should not be spent till they file affidavit on reforms.
They will be allowed to spend the money only when they accept the Lodha panel recommendations.
The Supreme Court order comes a day after the BCCI refused to file an affidavit as directed pledging its falling in line by accepting the Lodha panel recommendations in full. The order amounts to the court hitting the various state associations where it hurts -- financially -- and initiating the reform from bottom to top.
The fund freeze should not affect the state associations’ normal functioning as they are likely to have substantial money in their accounts. However, it is possible that the ongoing Ranji Trophy tournament comes to a halt if the associations plead helplessness citing the freezing of funds.
The court also tightened the grip on the BCCI president, Anurag Thakur, asking him to file a personal affidavit in 10 days on the communication he had with the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman, Shashank Manohar, about the Lodha panel.
There have been reports that the BCCI wanted the world body to issue communication that said the Lodha panel’s push for reforms amounted to ‘government interference’. That could have come with a threat of ICC suspending the Indian Board because national federations are autonomous bodies. However, the ICC, headed by the previous Indian board president, did not oblige.
The next hearing is slated for October 17.