Explained: Can Lodha reforms curb power of old hands?
Why did BCCI’s long-serving officials step down from positions?
The Supreme Court, in its July 18, 2016 order, accepted the Justice RM Lodha Committee’s recommendations about BCCI’s structural changes. Accordingly, the Indian board got a new constitution that had strict clauses about member qualification. Among other guidelines, the new rulebook debars those who have crossed 70 years; are ministers or government servants, have affiliation to other sports federations or have been office-bearers for a cumulative period of nine years.
Which officials have had to step down because of Lodha reforms?
Among the prominent faces, the restrictions made BCCI old guards like former president N Srinivasan and ex-secretary Niranjan Shah ineligible. Both are over 70 years of age and have completed nine years in office. Sharad Pawar, another former BCCI president, lost his right to continue in cricket administration because he is 78. Anurag Thakur, whom the apex court removed from the post of BCCI president in 2017 for non-compliance, can’t return to cricket administration because he currently serves as the Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs. Also, Thakur needs to serve a cooling-off period.
Current BCCI office-bearers like acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, too, need to serve a cooling-off period before returning to Board administration.
Does the new constitution allow sons and daughters of BCCI officials to replace them?
There’s absolutely no bar as long as their respective state associations are nominating them as their representatives at the BCCI. They are free to contest state or BCCI elections provided they meet the constitutional criteria. This has resulted in the election of N Srinivasan’s daughter Rupa in Tamil Nadu and Shah’s son Jayesh in Saurashtra.
Can the old hands still control BCCI?
While the long-serving members can still rule cricket bodies by proxy because of their sons, daughters or loyal coterie, the Lodha recommendations have put in place a few checks and balances to ensure that Indian cricket is run democratically. In the new constitution, the apex body will hold all the powers. It will have a couple of players’ representatives and those of the Comptroller and Auditor General, along with the other office-bearers. The presence of independent ombudsman, ethics officers and electoral officials is also seen as measures that ensure that cricket units wouldn’t end up becoming fiefdoms of a powerful few.