The Supreme Court on Monday blocked former BCCI President N. Srinivasan and former Secretary Niranjan Shah from attending the Special General Body Meeting (SGM) of the board, scheduled for July 26, as it directed that only office-bearers of the state associations will be participating in the meeting.
The apex court indicated that it may consider the plea against its earlier order holding one-state-one-vote and denying Maharashtra and Gujarat more than one vote in the BCCI.
The court was also likely to consider the plea by the Railways, Tri-Services and the Association of Indian Universities contesting their being stripped of their voting rights and given the status of associate members.
“One-state-one-vote may not be a good idea in India, whether Railways, Association of Indian Universities, or Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Baroda,” said Justice Dipak Misra asking contending parties Committee of Administrators headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai, Srinivasan and others not to adopt an adversarial approach.
Directing that only the office bearers of the State cricket associations would be participating in the SGM, the bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that the SGM will also deliberate on the implementation of the R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations as far as practicable.
However, the court made it clear that once the top court has accepted the Justice Lodha Committee recommendations, then it is the obligation of the state associations to implement them.
As senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Srinivasan, told the court that they were resisting certain recommendations as they were not comfortable with them, amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam said: “There can’t be wholesale defiance of the Lodha Committee recommendations.”
Subramaniam told the court that Srinivasan and former secretary Niranjan Shah, who were disqualified from being office bearers of BCCI or even the state associations, can’t circumvent the top court judgement by participating in the meeting of policy-making general body as the nominee of the state associations.
As Sibal said that there was nothing in the rules framed by the Justice Lodha Committee that barred Srinivasan and Shah from attending the SGM meeting as nominee of the state associations, Subramaniam contended that it was the spirit of the judgement that had to be respected and complied with.
Similar position was taken by senior counsel Parag Tripathi appearing for the Committee of Administrators.
Indicating that it may consider the plea for one-state-one-vote and stripping some of the cricketing associations of their voting rights and couple of other issues, the apex court did not cap the question of state associations nominating the people who stand disqualified under the Lodha Committee recommendations to represent them in the General Body Meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) leaving it open for a future date.
The top court by its July 18, 2016, judgement had said that Maharashtra and Gujarat would have one vote each and Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association, Vidarbha Cricket Association in Maharashtra and Gujarat Cricket Association, Baroda Cricket Association and Saurashtra Cricket Association in Gujarat would have a rotational vote on an annual basis.
“The only reasonable and rational answer to the problem within the broad principle of One-State-One-Vote would be to allow the full membership of BCCI to rotate among the three clubs on an annual basis. During the period, one of the associations would exercise rights and privileges of a full member, the other two associations would act as associate members of the BCCI,” the court had said in its 2016 judgement.
By the 2016 judgement, Railways, Tri-Services and the Association of Indian Universities were reduced to the status of associate members and stripped of their voting rights as they did not represent any geographical entity.
The court fixed August 18 for the hearing of filling of two vacancies in the Committee of Administrators following the resignations of noted historian Ramachandra Guha and veteran banker Vikram Limaye. It will also examine the extent to which the recommendations of Justice Lodha Committee have been implemented.
The names of the people who can step in to fill vacancies left by Guha and Limaye were given to the court in a sealed envelope.
The top court its January 30 order had constituted a four-member committee of administrators, headed by former CAG Vinod Rai, to run the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and implement the recommendations of the Justice Lodha committee.
Besides Guha, the other members of the committee were former captain of Indian women’s cricket team Diana Edulji and IDFC Limited Managing Director and CEO Vikram Limaye.
Limaye had sought to be relieved from the affairs of Indian cricket following his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange.