Business as usual... almost!
For 38 months the state cricket associations defied the landmark Supreme Court judgment of July 18, 2016, to bring in reforms recommended by Justice Lodha Committee. The wait is finally coming to an end, as by October 4, all state cricket associations of the BCCI would have fallen in line and be 'fully compliant' to the new constitution, as per the various judgments from the apex court.
Soon, cricket will again be back in the hands of the elected members, both at the state and BCCI levels, after the impasse to amend the constitution as per the Supreme Court order continued for three years. However, is change actually taking place in state associations? A major portion of the Justice Lodha Committee reforms was probably diluted when the SC order on September 20 stated that the disqualification rule was only applicable to office-bearers in state associations.
This has led to several interpretations between the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) and state units. While the Supreme Court did not agree to issue any clarification on their last order, the CoA issued an advisory following the September 20 order. "The relaxation is that the nine-year period mentioned in the said rules is to be computed by taking into account only the period served by individuals as "Office Bearers" cumulatively [without adding or taking into account the period served in any other position such as Member of a Governing Council or Managing Committee, etc.]," it stated.
All other disqualification rules remain in full force as per the CoA directive on September 24. Despite this, most state units have willfully ignored the rules laid down. Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), for example, have 21 diversions in their constitution, according to the CoA. The most blatant violation is to elect two vice-presidents whereas the provision is only for one.
Issues in MP
The Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association (MPCA) have ignored the 70 age criteria after the electoral officer declared nominations of Ashok Jagdale,73, and Narendra Menon,73, eligible to contest. Yesterday's MPCA Annual General Meeting did not even nominate anyone to be their BCCI representative. The meeting was concluded without appointing nominee of State Accountant General in Apex Council and appointment of ombudsman and ethics officer as per the constitution rules.
Tainted Ashirbad Behera, the former Odisha Cricket Association secretary, voted for his son Sanjay from prison when a chargesheeted person cannot be a part of any state and BCCI processes as per the new constitution. In Gujarat Cricket Association, Dhanraj Nathwani was elected as vice-president despite being the president of the Gujarat State Football Association. As per the new constitution, the person filing nomination for election, "must not hold any office or post in a sports or athletic association or federation apart from cricket."
The primary aim of the Justice Lodha Committee was to ensure that cricket administration is not personal fiefdom or inheritance business as has been the case all these years. The clean-up act recommended was largely directed towards state associations where Justice Lodha Committee found ample mismanagement and irregularities. To have a clean BCCI, it was important to ensure that the state associations were in proper order.
What has followed instead is sons, daughter and relatives being elected for coveted posts which will help them control of the associations. So, N Srinivasan will maintain his clout through daughter Rupa Gurunath in TNCA.
All in the family
Niranjan Shah will have his son Jaydev, the former Saurashtra captain, to manage the state body affairs. Anurag Thakur's younger brother Aurn was elected as Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association's new boss. So much for the spirit of the Supreme Court order.
While the CoA has refused to look into the conduct of the elections for each state associations as that is the job of the state electoral officer, the three-member panel yesterday clarified that, "Only compliant members of the BCCI as determined by the Committee of Administrators, in accordance with the Hon'ble Supreme Court judgment dated 9th August, 2018 read with the Hon'ble Supreme Court order dated 20th September, 2019, shall be permitted to participate in the General Body Meeting."
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