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BCCI’s obstinacy is making a mockery of the law

A BCCI Special General Meeting on Wednesday dumped its special committee’s observation that had narrowed down the objections against Justice Lodha Committee reforms to three

cricket Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:03 IST
Harit Joshi
BCCI, in its SGM on Wednesday, decided against adopting a number of Justice Lodha panel reforms which were made binding on the cricket board by the Supreme Court in July last year
BCCI, in its SGM on Wednesday, decided against adopting a number of Justice Lodha panel reforms which were made binding on the cricket board by the Supreme Court in July last year(AFP)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) repeated refusal to accept the Supreme Court ratified Justice RM Lodha committee reforms is making a mockery of nation’s highest seat of judiciary. More importantly, the time taken and the resources spent over legal matters make one wonder if the clean-up process has been worth it.

The BCCI, which has been resisting the Lodha committee reforms for over a year, once again cocked a snook at the apex court’s verdict at its Special General Meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. (INDIA vs SRI LANKA)

The Supreme Court, in its last hearing on Monday, had offered a juicy half-volley to the BCCI when it agreed to look into the “practical difficulties” in implementing some of the reforms, like the one-state-one-vote policy and membership issues.

READ | Notice to BCCI officials on CEO Rahul Johri ouster from Special General Meeting

Like a top-notch batsman, the BCCI has taken full advantage of the loose ball and audaciously drove the itchy reforms, including the age and tenure clause, to the ropes.

Justice Lodha ‘shocked’

The BCCI’s decision to cherry pick the ‘reforms’ has not gone down well with the ex-chief justice of India RM Lodha, whose recommendations were made binding on the BCCI in July last year.

Justice Lodha said he was “shocked” to see BCCI reject all the major reforms. “The heart, kidney, lungs are being taken out of these reforms,” Justice Lodha has been quoted as saying in Times of India. “What is the point in deliberating when the verdict is already given by the Supreme Court?... it means BCCI is not interested in implementing the reforms at all.”

The lawyers representing the petitioners tell Hindustan Times that BCCI is wrongly interpreting the Supreme Court orders. “The Court has only said that it shall look into the “practicability” of executing the reforms, it has not said that they have been waived off. So BCCI should not count their chicken before they hatch.”

READ | BCCI not functioning in coherent, cohesive manner, says Justice RM Lodha

Although Justice Lodha expects the Supreme Court to take cognizance of BCCI’s latest act of defiance, the way the cricket board has been brazenly interpreted court orders to suit itself is a mockery of justice. Asking its own CEO Rahul Johri to stay away from the BCCI SGM because “only eligible officer bearers are allowed” was the ultimate joke. Who appointed Johri, after all?

High legal cost

BCCI’s legal expenditure is close to Rs100 crore since the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal. Reports suggest that approximately Rs 9 lakh is spent per day towards footing legal bill at various levels. This includes appearance fee of legal experts like Aryama Sundaram, Kapil Sibal, Mukul Rohatgi, Shekhar Naphade and Arvind Datar, and the expenses of the two investigative and advisory bodies, appointed by the Supreme Court, Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice RM Lodha Committees.

READ | Fine print of BCCI’s new constitution makes it game changing

The BCCI had to shell out reportedly Rs1 lakh for every working day of the three-member Mudgal Committee to investigate the IPL scandal. The Supreme Court constituted this committee in October 2013 and the report was submitted in November 2014.

BCCI’s expenses on Lodha Committee’s remuneration were Rs 3.5 crore.

Already four years have been spent on legal battles and is unlikely to end anytime soon. The confusion over tenure and eligibility of (voting) membership is likely to drag indefinitely. BCCI loves to play the waiting game.