‘Why are we (COA) spoiling it in the end? We are not being fair’: Diana Edulji
With BCCI elections just days away, Diana Edulji, a member of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), has criticised the panel’s functioning for the way three government organisations – Railways, Services, and the Association of Universities — were not given voting rights, and for having different yardsticks for different member units. EXCERPTS
Are you happy with the way CoA’s functioning regarding elections in associations?
No, I’m not happy at all. We are not very open or transparent. We are seen as favouring certain states and (biased against) certain other states. That is not the idea of CoA, even today Justice Lodha said too much dilution (of his recommendations). Doesn’t it send wrong signals? We have done all the hard work in the last three years. Why are we spoiling it in the end? We are not being fair. I said in one of my mails that Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion.
You disagree with the way the three government associations have not been allowed to vote in the BCCI election?
Why were these government associations not allowed? I have brought this to the notice of the previous amicus (Gopal Shankarnarayanan) that no government organisation will allow players’ association. I have been a Railway employee myself. Where will the All India Universities get players? Maybe they (referring to CoA members) think of me as too junior a person who doesn’t know much about cricket administration, but my views are always in the minority. Now, since there are three members in the CoA, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1 is the norm of the CoA. You cannot have a union in Services, players will be court-marshalled for this. Even in Railways, there are official unions, recognised unions are there. You can’t have players’ union there too.
Eight units have been disqualified from voting, what’s your view on it?
The CoA were disqualifying associations for non-compliance of the constitution. We received many complaints against Baroda, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh that they have violated qualification norms. If you are non-compliant and have not registered the constitution as per the requirements, CoA is justified in taking action.
But at the same time, what have you (CoA) done when some states promised to follow the new constitution but when they held elections, they allowed disqualified people to participate. Some allowed MLAs in the association. You (CoA) banned Manipur because there was an MLA but why didn’t you ban DDCA (Delhi and District Cricket Association) when they also have an MLA there?
There are complaints against MPCA (Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association) that there are people holding three posts. These things should have been brought before the electoral officer way before, not now. These states who are now changing constitutions and submitting them late should be debarred; else every other association should be given more time to change.
Three states — Bihar, Uttarakhand and Odisha — were allowed to submit their constitution late? Why?
We (CoA) have only given them the time, they didn’t ask for any time. Suddenly, our legal team just sent a note that we should give them time till October 13. Then this time limit or extension should have been given to everybody – including Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Telling them, ‘We don’t agree with your reply but we have given time till October 13, otherwise you will be disqualified’.
Why isn’t there a uniform rule that CoA follows to hold elections?
That is what I am saying: why different rules? The same yardstick should be used for everybody. You can’t have different yardsticks for different states.
You think CoA is being selective in dealing with complaints?
It looks like it. The Rajasthan state unit has many complaints against it but it is not being looked into. There are 25 complaints against DDCA and nothing has been happening, no show-cause notice has been issued to them.
What happened with DDCA? There were several complaints made to CoA and electoral officer.
I’m told they were not given a hearing, which is very strange. I’m not sure but this is the feedback I have got from media people. Their association is also not proper, I was saying this from day one – that their election was not held properly.
Wasn’t it the duty of Indian Cricketers Association to form and conduct election of players in the state associations?
It was ICA’s job. Tell me, where is the constitution of these three government organisations? There is no constitution because it’s a different body completely. They stopped them playing Ranji Trophy, stopped giving jobs. The Supreme Court bought them from associate members to voting members and now we have done the opposite.
Do you think these moves are done with some ulterior motive?
I don’t know, the optics are going wrong. The perception of people is going wrong. Perception is very important.
Are you upset with 2-1, 2-1 within CoA meetings?
Yes, I’m (upset) because this is not the way the CoA is supposed to function. People have different views and we must be able to accept certain views of the minority also. When we were 1-1, the other opinion was taken and now it’s always 2-1. I am very clear that a level playing field should be there for all states. I don’t care for Tamil Nadu, I don’t care for Haryana, I don’t care for Baroda, Railways. I have no friends or foes.
Who goofed up in Rahul Dravid’s appointment when the conflict of interest issue came up?
I think he was misguided by the management. I made it very clear that whosoever comes in should be cleared by the ethics officer. You can give a timeline to the ethics officer in case of emergency.
What about the ad-hoc Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC), weren’t they paid?
There was talk of payment, there is nothing on email though, nothing in writing. It’s possible that the management is doing something about it.