Supreme Court Limits Disqualification Rules for BCCI Member Associations

The Supreme Court of India has issued an order on Friday, which limits the disqualification rules under the Lodha Committee reforms for the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) member associations to office-bearers. This clears the way for a large number of individuals involved in the administration of the BCCI. The order was issued by a bench comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao.

What are the disqualification rules?

  • The disqualification rules state that office-bearers, as defined by an association's by-laws, are not eligible for election to its apex council if they have held the position for successive terms aggregating six years or have completed a cumulative period of nine years. Since the Supreme Court accepted the Lodha Committee's report on reforming Indian cricket administration on July 18, 2016, members of managing committees, executive committees, and governing bodies at the State associations believed they were ineligible to run for the apex councils.
  • Those who had completed six successive years in their posts were told they were entering a cooling-off period of three years, and those who had completed a total of nine years were told it was the end of their innings in administration at the State level.

The Impact of the Order

  • The Supreme Court order will allow committee members to hold their positions for another three-year term as councillors, thus marking the first of the maximum of three three-year terms with the cooling-off period coming after the second term.
  • This order will have a significant impact on the administration of the BCCI, as it will allow many individuals who were previously ineligible to run for office to now do so.
  • The Committee of Administrators (CoA) - that looks into the day-to-day management of the BCCI - had issued directions on August 27 and September 16 regarding eligibility and disqualification rules. These were met with some resistance as some member associations said they were not part of the Lodha panel reforms approved by India's top court.
  • Under the reforms, the associations are required to elect an apex council, but it is not known if all the States will be allowed to have more than nine members in them. P.S. Narasimha, the amicus curiae in the matter, will have a big say in many matters of the apex council elections. The next set of directions from the Committee of Administrators should make matter clearer.

Background on Lodha Committee

  • The Lodha committee was set up by the Supreme Court to recommend reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The three-member panel was headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha. The following recommendations of the Lodha Committee have been accepted by the Supreme Court:
  • Ministers and civil servants and those above 70 years of age cannot become BCCI members.
  • An office-bearer of BCCI cannot hold a post for more than three years
  • Parliament to decide whether BCCI should come under the Right to Information Act (RTI)
  • There should be a player's association in the BCCI
  • Disallowing BCCI office-bearer from holding dual posts simultaneously i.e. in a state cricket association and in the BCCI
  • Each state should have only one vote. States like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket association will have voting rights on rotational basis
  • Member of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to be included in the BCCI's governing council

Synopsis

The Supreme Court's order on Friday has cleared the way for a large number of individuals involved in the administration of the BCCI to run for office. This is a significant development in the ongoing reform process of Indian cricket administration and will likely have a significant impact on the way the BCCI is run in the future.

Written by IAS POINT

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