Niranjan Shah appointed SCA CEO, yet to accept the role
Shah has explicitly stated that no court order prevents him from accepting the role offered to him by the SCA.
What's the story?
Former BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah has been appointed the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), but he is yet to accept the role. The 70-year-old ruled the SCA as its president for over four decades before the Lodha recommendations disqualified him from holding the office anymore.
In its governing body meeting on May 27, the joint secretary of the board, Madhukar Worah, informed the house that Shah had been appointed the CEO and that he hadn't accepted the role until then.
"Shri Madhukar Worah informed the governing body, after requesting Mr. Niranjan Shah to leave the meeting, as confirmed in earlier Governing Body meeting and Annual General Meeting, the appointment of Mr. Niranjan Shah as the chief executive. Mr. Worah informed the governing body that Mr. Niranjan Shah shall inform in due course feasible date to join as Chief Executive," the minutes of the meeting read.
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Shah was disqualified from being an office bearer of the BCCI or any of its state associations based on two of the Lodha panel's recommendations -- the age cap of 70 years and a cumulative period of nine or more years in the office.
Although a CEO isn't an office bearer, Shah's appointment does defeat the purpose of those reforms 'in spirit' as the disqualification of the administrators who have been ruling the roost for decades, which was the intention of those reforms, stands nullified.
The heart of the matter
The SCA ruled that the appointment of Shah as the CEO was made to neutralize the void that it had expected to be left behind after the implementation of Lodha reforms. The appointment was also made to look after the 'larger interest of the state association.'
"This is an option as per the SCA constitution but I haven’t accepted it at the moment. In the subsequent Governing Body meetings (after May 27) I have informed the house that I haven’t decided. But no court order prevents me from accepting the post," Shah told the Indian Express without ruling out the possibility that he may return to the SCA administration soon.
When asked whether the appointment questions the spirit of the Supreme Court's order, Shah said, "I don’t think so. Even if you see the Lodha Committee FAQs, there’s no bar. CEOs at many big companies are all above 70. So what! This also you see as a company."
If Shah accepts the role offered, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) may mention the development in its next status report, which is to be filed with the Supreme Court before the next hearing on September 19.
The state associations' long-standing methods of playing semantics with respect to the court's order have taken a higher ground with this appointment. First, after being disqualified from attending the BCCI meetings, Shah attended the board's SGM as a 'special invitee' in July this year.
N Srinivasan, the former BCCI president who also stands disqualified from holding an office of profit had also attended the July SGM. Not surprisingly, both Srinivasan and Shah were served notices from the SC asking them to explain their participation.
Should Shah accept this role, and should he return to the SCA administration, it would be another case of a state association drawing out interpretations from the court's order and defeating the July 18, 2016, judgement in 'intent and purpose.'