All state units can take part in BCCI elections after SC order
The Supreme Court’s order on restricting disqualification on the basis of tenure and cooling-off period for contesting the elections to the office-bearers only and exempting the councillors at state cricket associations has cleared the way for the participation of all state units in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) elections.
A number of state units that had refused to fall in line so far, have expressed relief at the decision which puts no cap on tenure and cooling off period for councillors (managing committee members) in the Apex Councils. Some of the neutral experts however are upset at the changes made to the constitution framed by the Justice (Rtd) RM Lodha Committee and adopted by the BCCI.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) had also issued a directive few days ago, specifying the cooling off period (6 years) and total tenure (9 years) will apply to the councillors as well. A veteran cricket administrator said it is fair that councillors are excused from the tenure rule as a lot of members will be reluctant to take up the position because it will eat into their tenure as office-bearers.
On Friday, the Supreme Court was hearing pleas filed by the state units seeking relief for some of the rules. A bench comprising Justices SA Bode and L Nageswara Rao, in its interim order, directed that disqualification norms “shall remain confined to office bearers only”. The bench also ruled that the 21-day notice period for holding elections will be waived subject to discretion of the Amicus Curiae PS Narsimha.
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), who hadn’t adhered to the CoA’s September 12 deadline to get their constitution approved and call for state elections, welcomed the directive. “We will hold an Executive Committee meeting on Monday and finalise the date for elections,” a TNCA official said. The SC bench stated that the state associations can go ahead with elections but will not declare the results. It will be subject to the order of this court and legal remedies will be available to parties.
In its order, the SC has also allowed TNCA to elect an assistant secretary even though a BCCI expert questioned its requirement, arguing that ‘a new post had been created’. He pointed out that the disqualification rules for councillors are written in the original Lodha reforms. “Now the councillors will be in the state apex council forever without any disqualification.”
There is a concern that powerful figures in state units may choose to stay in their Apex Councils as ordinary councillors to influence decisions without becoming an office-bearer. Another heavyweight in the BCCI set-up also gave an all-clear to the election process. “It’s time now for the cricket administration to be back in the hands of the cricket administrators and that is the clear intent of the SC.” He said the new set of administrators will have a very difficult task to correct a lot of situations and their priority will be “India’s position in the ICC.”