BCCI vs Lodha Panel: Supreme Court to Hear Defiant Board – 10 Developments

The Anurag Thakur-led BCCI has decided to contest some of the Lodha Panel recommendations.

The Supreme Court will hear a defiant Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the implementation of the Lodha Panel reforms on Monday. The influential board, in a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Saturday, decided it will contest a slew of recommendations that threatens its autonomy.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, has given the board an ultimatum to adopt the reforms without any conditions. The Board has refused to give an undertaking that it will accept all the reforms suggested by the Lodha panel and fall in line.

The panel, headed by former chief justice of India RM Lodha, recommended, among other things, age and tenure restrictions for top officials as well as banning them from serving successive terms.

The following are the top 10 developments of the BCCI vs Lodha panel case:

1. On July 14, 2016, a two-judge Supreme Court bench, that included current Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, empowered the Justice RM Lodha-led panel to implement a series of reforms to bring in more transparency in BCCI’s style of governance. The committee suggested major reforms that included age caps, tenure restrictions, one-man-one-post, one state-one-vote, among others. The reforms were binding and would apply to the Board as well as its state units.

2. Lodha panel set BCCI two deadlines – September 30 to make constitutional changes (adopt the Memorandum of Association and Rules) and December 15 for the Board to form a nine-member Apex committee that will replace the powerful working committee.

3. Unhappy with the proposed reforms, BCCI appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju to review the Lodha panel recommendations. Katju called the Lodha panel “unconstitutional and illegal”.~CHECK~The BCCI promptly filed a review petition in the Supreme Court in July.

4. Acting on Katju’s advise, the BCCI also announced the date of its AGM (September 21). Katju said there was nothing wrong in the BCCI staging its AGM as it was governed by the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 and only the Registrar could take action against the BCCI, not a court-appointed committee.

5. In August, BCCI secretary met the Lodha committee saying the AGM will conduct “routine” business. On the contrary, the Board advertised inviting applications for the post of selectors. Its agenda also included formation of a new working committee and even an ombudsman – all in defiance of Lodha panel orders.

6. Saying the BCCI conducted more than just “routine’ matters, the Lodha panel filed a status report to the Supreme Court on September 28, complaining of non-compliance of its orders. The panel wanted BCCI’s top brass to be “superseded”. Justice Thakur wanted BCCI “to fall in line”.

7. A defiant BCCI failed to meet its first deadline and instead called a Special General Meeting on September 30 to discuss implementation of Lodha reforms. The SGM is adjourned by a day because several members turned up without letters to represent their units.

8. On October 1, BCCI cherry picked a few recommendations made by the Lodha panel but made no decision on the important proposals like one-state-one-unit and age and tenure caps for officials. BCCI also decided to disburse large sums of money (approximately 400 crores) earned from TV rights to state units as infrastructure grants.

9. Lodha committee told BCCI’s bankers – Bank of Maharashtra and Yes Bank – to stop disbursing grants to state units without its approval. BCCI president Anurag Thakur told media that freezing of accounts will force Board to cancel the India vs New Zealand Test series. Justice Lodha clarified on October 4 that BCCI was misinterpreting or deliberately twisting its order to the banks. The panel never stopped any money for staging matches.

10. On October 6, Supreme Court gives an ultimatum to the BCCI to ‘unconditionally’~CHECK~accept the Lodha reforms or it will pass an order. BCCI refuses to give any such undertaking asking for time till October 17. On October 7, Supreme Court says that state units must not utilize BCCI grants till they adopt the Lodha reforms.

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