Lodha panel moves SC seeking removal of BCCI top brass
New Delhi : The Supreme Court today pulled up the BCCI, asking it to “fall in line” after the Justice R M Lodha panel sought removal of the top brass of BCCI, including its President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke, for non-compliance of the apex court directions.
The Lodha panel, in its status report filed before the apex court, had sought the replacement of top brass of the cricket body with cricket administrators.
It said that the BCCI and its office bearers are not complying with directions and repeatedly issuing statements to undermine the authority of the court and the members of the Lodha panel, which had recommended structural reforms in BCCI.
The counsel appearing for the panel said BCCI is not replying to emails and other communications sent to them and repeatedly defying the orders of the court.
The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur took note of the submissions and said these are serious allegations and BCCI has to follow the directions of the court.
“If the BCCI thinks that they are law unto themselves, then they are wrong. They have to comply with the directions of the court,” the bench also comprising Justice A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
“You (BCCI) are behaving like Lords. Fall in line otherwise we will make you fall in line,” the bench said, adding that, “BCCI is bringing the system to disrepute by not following the directions”.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar appearing for BCCI said that they have complied with most of the directions and would gradually comply with the rest.
To this the bench said, “Law needs not to be defied. We are not happy about the things going on. We anticipated this approach from BCCI but this is not done. You will have to fall in line with the directions of the court.”
The Cricket Association of Bihar also approached the apex court and said that the review petition pending before the court should be taken up urgently.
They said the review petition filed by the BCCI is still in defects with the registry and they are not pursuing it to be taken up for hearing.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on October 6.
The apex court on July 18, accepted major recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms in BCCI including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming its members but left it to Parliament to decide whether it should come under RTI and betting on the game should be legalised.
The bench also requested the three-member panel, also comprising former apex court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran to oversee the transition of administrative structure in BCCI which has to take place within six months.
The members of the affiliated units of the BCCI during its AGM, on September 21, discussed Lodha panel secretary Gopal Shankarnarayan’s alleged remarks on the selectors but no specific decision was taken on the matter.
The apex court-appointed Lodha Committee had on January 4 recommended sweeping reforms and an administrative shake-up at the troubled BCCI, suggesting that ministers be barred from occupying positions, a cap put on the age and tenure of the office-bearers and legalising betting.
Some of the state cricket associations, former players Kirti Azad, Bishen Singh Bedi and cricket administrators also approached the apex court with regard to the implementation of Lodha panel recommendations in BCCI.
The court also accepted the recommendations of the Committee headed by retired Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha to have a CAG nominee in BCCI.
The court had however, left it to Parliament to decide whether functioning of BCCI can be brought under RTI as recommended by the Lodha Panel and whether to legalise betting in cricket or not.