Sourav Ganguly’s Fate, Jay Shah in Pictures as Supreme Court Begins Hearing BCCI Plea to Change Constitution

The Supreme Court has begun hearing the BCCI’s plea for several amendments to the constitution that could reverse some of the key reforms recommended by the RM Lodha Commission and approved by the court in 2018.

A two judge, consisting of Judges DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, heard BCCI attorney Tushar Mehta, who is also Attorney General of India, along with amicus curiae Maninder Singh. The court also heard from the Cricket Association of Bihar, the original litigant who filed a petition against the BCCI following the 2013 IPL corruption scandal, which ultimately led to the BCCI’s constitutional revision.

The court said it would resume the hearing on Wednesday afternoon, without any indication whether it would rule on the same day.

Tuesday marked the first time in two years that the court heard the BCCI plea, originally filed in December 2019. The board then filed a new request in April 2020 and recently urged the court to urgently consider the case as the outcome would have been different. an important influence on the BCCI elections scheduled for the end of September.

Among the major reforms that the BCCI has asked the court to review are the mandatory cooling-off period for its office holders, the change of the disqualification criteria for holding office, giving unprecedented powers to the board secretary and preventing the court from participating. if the BCCI wishes to change its statutes in the future. (Read more about BCC’s proposed changes here)

Under the BCCI’s revised constitution, which came into effect in 2018, an office holder/administrator must undergo a three-year cooling off period after completing two consecutive terms (six years), either with a state association or in the BCCI, or a combination from both. That person is also automatically ineligible to contest or hold a position — either with the state or with BCCI — during the cooling off period.

In 2018, the court had relaxed the cooling-off period standard originally stated in the Lodha Commission’s recommendations, which formed the basis for the BCCI’s new constitution. According to the recommendations of the Lodha Commission, an office holder – at the BCCI or the state associations – should take a three-year break after serving a three-year term. However, the court amended that clause to allow an office holder to serve two consecutive terms (six years) with the state association or the BCCI, or a combination of the two, while retaining the maximum term of office of nine years with one organization (state or board). .

Incidentally, the 2018 court ruling was made by Justice Chandrachud, who had said: “Having a person serve as office holder for six years is a long enough period to use acquired experience and knowledge for the sake of the game without this simultaneously results in a monopoly of power.” The cooling-off period, Justice Chandrachud said, was necessary because it would serve as a “protection” against “establishments of personal interests”, as well as allow for the “concentration of power in a few hands”, while encouraging more drivers to gain experience. to do.

“Cooling down should be accepted as a means of preventing a few individuals from viewing the administration of cricket as a personal field,” Justice Chandrachud had written in his verdict. “The game will be better off without cricket oligopolies.”

In October 2019, a new BCCI administration was elected with Sourav Ganguly as President, Jay Shah as Secretary, Arun Dhumal as Treasurer and Jayesh George as Joint Secretary. Within two months of the takeover, the Ganguly administration moved the court challenging the cooling-off period: It wanted the cooling-off period to come into effect after the office holder had held office for six consecutive years – either a state association or the BCCI, but not a combination of both. This is the point that both Mehta, Singh and senior legal adviser Kapil Sibal, who represents the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, reiterated.

At present, all five BCCI office holders, including Vice President Rajiv Shukla, have held one office or another for six consecutive years, having previously served with their respective state associations before becoming BCCI office holders. Ganguly was slated to begin his cooling-off period after July 2020, having started as secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal in 2014, becoming the association’s president in 2015 and being re-elected in September 2019 before moving to the BCCI moved. . As for Shah, he was elected joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) in 2014. The JSA’s internal documents suggest that Shah’s tenure began on September 8, 2013. In Shukla’s case, he is not eligible to continue as a BCCI office. bearer by virtue of his membership of Parliament – according to the statutes of the board, a politician cannot serve as office bearer.

Not everyone agrees with the BCCI, including Subramaniam Swamy, a member of the Bharatiya Janata party who heads the Indian government. According to Bar and Bench, an Indian legal website, Swamy has filed a petition with the court to challenge the BCCI, saying his plea was aimed at “nullifying and destroying” the cooling-off period, “resulting in a monopoly of power in the hands of a few individuals” and “destroy the quintessence” of the 2018 Supreme Court ruling.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo

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