SC issues show-cause notice to BCCI top brass
Secretary Amitabh Chaudhury, treasurer Anirudh Choudhury, and the acting president CK Khanna have been summoned by the court.
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The Supreme Court of India issued show-cause notices to BCCI secretary Amitabh Chaudhury, treasurer Anirudh Choudhury, and the acting president CK Khanna and asked for reasons why the Lodha Panel recommendations have not been implemented yet -- more than a year after the Court's mandate.
The Court also asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to formulate a new constitution for the BCCI and directed the trio of Chaudhury, Choudhury, and Khanna to be present in the Court for the next hearing on September 19.
This move comes after the CoA's request to sack the entire top brass of the BCCI in the report submitted to the Court on August 19.
In response, a top BCCI official told CricketNext that the reason for the delay in implementation would be revealed soon.
"We will send in our respective replies to the apex court, telling them why exactly there has been a delay.," the official said.
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In the fifth status report filed with the Court, the CoA had asked for the administration and the governance of the board to be handed over to it and also emphasized upon the requirement of a professional group to run the BCCI under the CEO Rahul Johri.
"It is only fair that the current office-bearers be treated in the same manner because a further period of six months have elapsed since the said office-bearers submitted their undertakings and reforms mandated by Hon'ble Court have still not been implemented," the committee said in the status report.
"It is clear that current office-bearers are not in a position to make good on their undertakings and ensure that reforms mandated by this Hon'ble Court are implemented," the report read further.
The CoA had also targetted the BCCI for misinterpreting the directions of the Supreme Court by creating an ambiguity over the word 'etc' used in the Court's judgment. The committee reported that the board had deliberately tried to make the core of the Lodha Panel reforms redundant and non-enforceable.
"First, the CEO of BCCI as well as the administrative staff including the legal team was asked to leave the meeting on the basis that they are not office bearers," the report read.
It further stated, "Secondly, the totally neutral expression ‘etc’ was treated as an excuse to bring in a series of issues aimed at unravelling the fundamental core of the reforms mandated by this Hon’ble Court including disqualification of office bearers, constitution of apex council, clear demarcation of functions, powers, duties and obligations between professional management and Apex Council, etc."
The board was also reprimanded for not looking into the matters of 'conflict of interest' and the appointment of an ombudsman to replace Justice AP Shah, whose tenure ended in September 2016.
"Even fundamental issues such as conflict of interest rules and appointment of Ombudsman were not implemented during the SGM held on July 26, 2017. It is obvious that the whole idea was to stonewall the fundamental core of reforms mandated by this Hon’ble Court and make the same a dead letter," the committee stated.
The office bearers have been summoned by the court for the next hearing on September 19 for explaining why a delay of more than a year in implementing the reforms happened.
The BCCI is now being barb-wired from all corners by the CoA and the SC, and it would be wise on their part to admit to their nepotism and a lackluster attitude towards the order of the highest court of the land; lest it should face what seems to be a string of strict measures likely to be put in place by the Court.
Disqualified office bearers such as N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah continue to attend the board's SGMs in complete abolishment of the directions of the CoA while trying to reinforce an anti-establishment brigade to stall the Lodha Panel reforms, not by debate or discussion but by hijacking the meetings.
More than a year has passed since the judgment -- the SC ratified the Lodha recommendations on July 18, 2016 -- and time is running out for the BCCI. A quick action should safeguard the interests of the game that are much more important, perhaps, than the interests of the office bearers.