New Delhi: In a major development that could usher in much-needed transparency in the functioning of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Supreme Court today accepted major recommendations of Justice R M Lodha panel that suggested some far-reaching structural reforms in the cricketing body.
The apex court, while hearing on the matter, today agreed with the Lodha panel recommendation that "no minister or serving bureaucrat can serve on the BCCI board". The SC bench comprising of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Ibrahim Kalifullah Court further said that the age cap of 70 has to be implemented in the cricket administration body.
The court also appointed Justice R M Lodha to oversee the changes which, as per the court’s order, will have to be brought about within six months.
“It's a great day for Indian cricket. I am sure that BCCI will implement the recommendations at the earliest,” Justice Lodha,
Rejecting the objections of the BCCI, the apex court said that "one state, one vote" principle must be implemented by the BCCI. The judges were unhappy with distribution of funds in the BCCI and said that states like Gujarat and Maharashtra, which have more than one cricket association, will get voting rights on a rotational basis.
The Supreme Court, which felt that BCCI discharges a public service and has complete monopoly over cricket in India, has left it on the Parliament to decide whether BCCI should come under RTI and whether or not to legalise betting in India.
The SC has also agreed to Lodha panel's recommendation that there should be a players' association in the BCCI.
"We hope this verdict will bring in some reforms and BCCI must accept change," Chief Justice Thakur said.
The SC also ordered that a CAG nominee will be part of the BCCI to keep track of its funds. The bench also accepted the recommendation that one person should hold one post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest and scrapping of all other administrative committees in the BCCI after CAG nominee comes in.
The apex court, however, left it to the BCCI to make effective changes in its broadcasting agreements.
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 three-member panel, also comprising former apex court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran, had suggested that one unit should represent only one state, while taking away the voting rights of institutional and city-based units.
It suggested restructuring of the BCCI's administrative set-up and proposed a CEO to run daily affairs of the board who will be accountable to a nine-member apex council.
(With inputs from agencies)