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SC bars ministers, babus from BCCI

Apex court nod to Lodha panel changes; Pawar, Srinivasan hit dead end

New Delhi: The far-reaching reforms in BCCI recommended by the Lodha Committee on Monday got the stamp of approval from the Supreme Court that will keep former czars like Sharad Pawar and N Srinivasan out because of the age-cap of 70 on those occupying posts in the cash-rich body as also ministers and civil servants.
When implemented, the Justice R M Lodha Committee recommendations could also put an end to the tenure of BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke from holding top posts in their state associations–Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra–respectively.
The key recommendations, which found strong favour from a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, also included nomination of a member of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India and Accountant General in BCCI and state cricket boards respectively to bring financial transparency in them.
The bench approved the recommendation favouring one state-one vote and one member-one post besides asking the Parliament and the Law Commission to mull over suggestions to bring BCCI under the purview of Right to Transparency Act and legalise betting in cricket.
“We accept the report submitted by the Committee and the recommendations made therein with such modifications and clarifications…”, the verdict, penned by Justice Thakur, along with Justice F M I Kalifulla said while fixing a six- months deadline for the implementation of the recommendations.
At the outset in the 143-page verdict, the bench, which rejected the vehement pleas of the BCCI and some of its members against the recommendations, said “‘Change’ it is famously said is all that is constant in the world. And yet the world hates change, no matter, it is only change that has brought progress for mankind.”
Dealing in detail the issue of one state-one vote, the court seconded the recommendation saying “…This is a measure which has been recommended with a view to structurally streamlining  the BCCI to make it more responsive and accountable having regard to the aspiration of different regions for an equal opportunity to participate in the growth and promotion of the game in the country…”
It then dealt with the facts that states like Gujarat and Maharashtra have three cricket associations each which are full-fledged members of BCCI and said “the only reasonable and rational answer to the problem within the broad principle of One State-One Vote would be to allow the full membership of BCCI to rotate among the three clubs on an annual basis”.
“…Some of the clubs/associations, if not all are the founding members of BCCI. That being so, a balance has to be struck with historical reality and the need for adopting a pragmatic, uniform and principled approach aimed at reforming and rationalising BCCI’s structural edifice.
“The recommendation made by the Committee to the extent it provides for one vote for each state is unexceptionable nor should there be any compromise with what is proposed as a reformative measure…,” the bench said. It further said,  “We see no merit in that contention nor do we see any reason to disagree with the recommendation made by the committee, who has upon a thorough consideration of all facts and circumstances relevant to the working of the BCCI, recommended the conversion of the clubs and associations without a territory from full members to associate members.
MCA hails SC decision: The Meghalaya Cricket Association (MCA) has welcomed Supreme Court’s  decision to approve Justice R M Lodha Committee recommendations aimed at reforming BCCI, our reporter adds.
In his reaction, the MCA secretary Naba Bhattacharjee on Monday  said that with this  the state Cricket Boards now would have a much bigger and better say in the management of BCCI.
Bhattacharjee, who also appeared before the Lodha Committee,  had demanded that the North East states including Meghalaya, which have remained unrepresented in the board, should get proper recognitions.
Apart from Tripura, the other six sister-States of the north-east had been relegated to various categories of membership (Associate, Affiliate and Future) which really have no voice on the Board.

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