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  SC approves BCCI draft constitution with relief to members
BHUBANESWAR,09 Aug 2018 (Team Orisports)

The Supreme Court today approved the draft constitution of the Board of Control for Cricket in India with modifications, which bring some relief to the officials and the State and other affiliated bodies of the board.

The three-judge Bench, headed by the Justice Dipak Mishra, directed the BCCI and the State associations to adopt the “Constitution in letter and spirit”. The Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) was tasked to monitor the developments. The CoA wsas also asked to report on any non-compliance by the State and affiliated associations.

However, the final verdict on the case has brought respite to the BCCI officials, who faced an uncertain future in the board in wake of the Justice Lodha Panel recommendations, which advocated sweeping changes in cricket governance in the country.

The Bench, comprising Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, struck off the “One State-One Vote” policy and relaxed the cooling-off period norm, allowing two consecutive terms to the office-bearers as against the one recommended in the reforms.

“To utilise territoriality as a basis of exclusion is problematic because it ignores history and the contributions made by such associations to the development of cricket and its popularity,” Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who wrote the judgment, reasoned. But the Bench agreed that the National Cricket Club and the Cricket Club of India did not deserve to be full members in BCCI.

The Court ruling will grant each of the existing cricket bodies in Maharashtra and Gujarat a full-member status and the voting right in the board. The State of Maharashtra will now have the Maharashtra Cricket Association, Mumbai Cricket Association and Vidarbha Cricket Association as independent entities in the board with the full member status and the right to vote and participate in the BCCI AGM.

In Gujarat, too, the Gujarat Cricket Association, Saurashtra Cricket Association and Baroda Cricket Association will get the same benefits. The Court also granted full membership to the Railways, Services and the Association of Indian Universities (Combined Universities). The court took these body’s contribution to the sport and existence for over 100 years into consideration. These bodies will have full right to vote and attend the Board AGMs now.

The Bench also relaxed the norm over “Cooling off” period. Instead of a three-year cooling off period after every term, the Court has allowed two consecutive terms to the office-bearers.

“Six years in continuation, is a sufficiently long period for experience and knowledge gained to be deployed in the interest of the game without at the same time resulting in a monopoly of power,” Justice Chandrachud explained.

The Committee of Administrators will stay and monitor the implementation of the Draft Constitution. The court directed the CoA to report back anomalies, if any, in the implementation of the Constitution by the State bodies. The draft is final and binding on the BCCI and its affiliate associations.

The too court modified the number of selectors from the current three to five, observing that a “broad-based selection committee” was required to tap the prodigious talent pool spread across the country.

“The vast territory of the nation, the extent of cricket being played both at the national and international level, the need for selectors to travel extensively to spot talent from the pool of cricketers and the need to encourage both domestic and international cricket, are considerations which persuade us to accept the plea for modification in regard to the number of selectors to five,” Justice Chandrachud observed.

The court upheld the Justice Lodha recommendation for an “apex council” to professionally manage the BCCI. The council would consist of a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other officers who must be recruited on a transparent and professional basis. Of the nine members of the apex council, five (the President, Vice President, Secretary, Joint Secretary, Treasurer and a member) are to be elected by the General body.

The court retained the Lodha panel suggestion to bar government ministers or government servants from holding cricket office. It upheld the age cap of 70 years for cricket administrators.

The Registrar of Societies under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 should register the new Constitution and submit a report in the Supreme Court within four weeks. After the BCCI Constitution is registered, the Board’s members should fine-tune their respective Constitutions and register them within 30 days.



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