In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court on Monday removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke as the president and secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke paid the penalty for constantly opposing major reforms suggested by the RM Lodha panel. Till the court names an observer, the BCCI will be run by its senior-most vice-president while the joint-secretary Amitabh Choudhary will be the interim secretary. Both will have to give an undertaking that they will follow the Lodha reforms.
Reacting to the Supreme Court order, Thakur said, “For me, it was not a personal battle but for the autonomy of the sports body. If Supreme Court feels BCCI would do better under retired judges then I wish them all the best, I am sure they will do well.”
The Supreme Court had on July 18 made it binding on the BCCI to implement the Lodha committee proposals that, among others, included age and tenure caps, one-man-one-post and a one-state-one-vote policy.
The BCCI’s constant defiance to comply with the Supreme Court order led to Monday’s decision. On December 15, before breaking for the winter holidays, the Supreme Court had reserved an order in response to the Lodha panel’s status report that sough the appointment of an observer.
On Monday, the three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, approved the Lodha panel’s view of the BCCI’s office bearers. Justice Chandrachud said all office bearers who did not fulfill the recommendations will “demit and cease to hold office”.
The bench will appoint an observer in its next hearing on January 19. The main task of the observer will be to make the BCCI affiliates falls in line with the Lodha reforms. The court has sought the help of senior lawyers Fali Nariman and Gopal Subramanium in selecting the BCCI observer.
“One should understand that once the order of the Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, has come it has to be obeyed by all... nobody can escape it,” former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha told reporters after the verdict.
“Being at the helm of affairs, if they were not able to implement the Supreme Court order, these consequences were bound to follow and that’s what has happened.
“Administrators come and administrators go but ultimately it’s for the benefit of the game and the game will flourish, I’m very sure,” said Lodha.
Shirke said he was ready to step down.
“If the highest court of the land wants me to leave, I’d leave happily, I have no issues,” Shirke, who is also the president of the Maharashtra Cricket Association, said.
“We have to see that the BCCI, in its new form, continues to do well, cricket flourishes and India is able to maintain its position in global cricket.”