The defence ministry has petitioned the Supreme Court against the Justice RM Lodha committee’s recommendation to overhaul the BCCI, saying the panel has demoted its sports board from a full-fledged voting member to an associate member without voting rights.
Asking the top court to hear it before giving any final decision on objections by the BCCI and other state cricket bodies to the committee’s report, the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) said the Lodha panel’s conclusions do not reflect the reasons for arriving at the decision. The SSCB, however, clarified that it was not against the court’s efforts to improve the sport’s governance, but its role in the BCCI should not be reduced to that of a non-participating member.
SSCB is a founding member of the BCCI as well as the Indian Olympic Association. It is an apex armed forces sports body that administers, promotes and controls sports for the defence services personnel. According to its application before the top court, no one has been appointed twice as SSCB president or secretary.
It was an important full member of BCCI’s North Zone and has a say in the cricketing affairs of services players within the BCCI set-up, SSCB told the Supreme Court. As a full-fledged BCCI member, the SSCB stated, Justice Lodha should have given it a hearing. “The applicant was neither consulted nor questioned,” read the application.
“Committee (Justice Lodha) has demoted existing full members and their vested rights of membership have been adversely affected without following the principles of natural justice,” the SSCB contended. It has argued that allowing voting rights does not give advantage to any particular state or BCCI office-bearer. Full voting rights in a sports body was important for the SSCB for its effective participation in the administration of such organisations, it added.
The application is likely to come up for hearing on Friday. The Supreme Court had on March 3 made it clear that it shall not refer the matter back to the Justice Lodha panel, after BCCI and the state bodies asked for a fresh hearing. “We will not allow you to prolong or filibuster the recommendations,” the bench had said.