SC tightens screws on BCCI, limits financial freedom
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has passed an order limiting the financial freedom of BCCI to force the board and its state associations to comply with all the recommendations of the Lodha Committee. The court released the order, which was reserved on Monday after hearing, on Friday.
According to the order, the BCCI stop distributing funds to the state associations until they comply with the Lodha Committee recommendations by submitting affidavits of compliance to the court and Lodha Committee within two weeks. The court also directed the Lodha panel to fix a limit on the value of contracts the BCCI can enter into, all contracts above the limit should go through the committee. The next major contract for the board is the broadcast rights for the IPL, set to be finalised on October 25. The court also said the committee should appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise the BCCI’s accounts.
The court also asked BCCI president Anurag Thakur to give an undertaking to comply with the Lodha panel’s recommendations and court orders by 3rd December. Snubbing Anurag Thakur, the apex court told him on Friday to appear before the Lodha Panel and explain why he could not implement its recommendation. The SC was curt when it said that not a penny can be given to state associations. The BCCI accounts have been frozen.
Anurag Thakur had said in his affidavit that the panel cannot interfere in the working of the BCCI since it enjoyed autonomy which is necessary for the development of cricket in India. The BCCI is accused of using and misusing and abusing the funds and powers that the cricketing body gives to its office bearers. The BCCI earlier threatened to call off India-New Zealand series if it was compelled to implement the recommendations of the Lodha panel. Critics call the office bearers and other important people running the cricket show in the country BCCI blackmailers.
In its report submitted to the Supreme Court, the apex court-appointed Lodha Committee had stated that the BCCI was not implementing its recommendations aimed at reforming the country’s cricket governing body.
The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by BCCI’s 30-member Board, include one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and keeping to retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board.
There has been a running battle between the Lodha panel and the BCCI for months. BCCI has been refusing to fall in line. It met several times after the panel gave its recommendations only to reject them. The BCCI has been enjoying autonomy and Anurag Thakur argued that he would not allow the autonomy to be compromised. Now, the BCCI president was given two weeks to implement the recommendations. The hearing was adjourned to December 6.
The main recommendation of Justice Lodha Committee was that one state association should have one vote. It is contrary to the present practice in which influential associations enjoy undue advantage. Critics say there are some persons who have been hanging around in the BCCI for more than 20 years monopolizing the show.