SC finalises new BCCI Constitution diluting key recommendations of Lodha Committee

The three-judge Bench dumps Justice Lodha’s one State one vote and alters cooling-off period for cricket bosses

In a major relief for BCCI, the Supreme Court on Thursday approved a draft Constitution diluting key recommendations of apex court-appointed Justice R.M. Lodha Committee for ‘one-State-one-vote’ and the mandatory cooling-off period for cricket administrators after every term.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said they have accepted the draft BCCI Constitution with certain "alterations".

Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the verdict for the Bench, restored full memberships in BCCI to prominent cricket associations in Gujarat and Maharashtra. In a brief reading of excerpts from the judgement, Justice Chandrachud mentioned Saurashtra and Vadodara associations from Gujarat and Mumbai and Vidarbha cricket association in Maharashtra.

Railways, services and the association of universities also regained their lost full memberships. All of them, in the earlier judgements of the apex court which fully endorsed the Justice Lodha Committee’s recommendation of one State one vote, had lost their memberships.

Justice Lodha panel had said that BCCI memberships should be distributed State-wise to ensure more participation and opportunities across the country.

The court observed that it upheld the "principle" of cooling-off period. But it did away with the imposition of cooling-off period for cricket administrators between two terms. Justice Lodha had recommended that a cricket administrator should compulsorily have a cooling-off period before he contests in the next elections.

The court has now said that cooling-off period would kick in only after two consecutive terms.

This would be applicable across the spectrum of BCCI, its members and or a combination of both.

The court ordered the new Constitution to be registered with the Tamil Nadu Registrar of Co-operative Societies in the next four weeks. Members should comply and make parallel changes in their respective Constitutions within 30 days of the registration of the BCCI Constitution.

With this, the BCCI case of many years in the Supreme Court has come a full circle from the judgement of July 18, 2016, confirming the Lodha recommendations. The same recommendations were re-confirmed in another elaborate judgement on January 2, 2017. The January verdict had even seen the Supreme Court remove Anurag Thakur as BCCI chief for not doing enough to implement the Lodha reforms.

On July 18, 2016, the Supreme Court had embraced the Lodha recommendations to overhaul Indian cricket administration at the end of a two-year-long innings during which the BCCI and State associations fought tooth-and-nail to protect their turfs from the court’s intervention.

The apex court had then concluded that the Lodha reforms would effectively overhaul the BCCI’s organisational set-up, memberships and functioning for the sake of transparency and accountability.

It had given full marks to the ‘One State, One Vote’ policy, though the court had acknowledged that the policy may affect budding cricketers in States having more then one member cricket clubs as in Maharashtra and Gujarat with a long-standing history in contributing to cricket.

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