The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed senior advocate and former additional solicitor general Maninder Singh as amicus curiae in order to assist in a case relating to the amendment to the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Constitution.
While hearing a plea by the BCCI seeking approval to amend the rules of the board’s constitution, a bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana said that since earlier amicus curiae P S Narasimha has been elevated as the SC judge, a new amicus will have to be heard on the issue. It also posted the matter for hearing on July 28.
The BCCI has sought several amendments to its constitution, which could roll back some of the most significant reforms for the office bearers that were recommended by the RM Lodha Committee and approved by the top court in 2018.
The proposed amendment seeks to allow BCCI office-bearers to hold posts in the state associations, besides completely removing the six-year tenure rule for the president and secretary of the state associations. The mandatory ‘cooling-off period’ was a major recommendation made by the Lodha Committee to reform cricket administration in the country.
Among the other key reforms that the BCCI has asked the SC to review are modifying the disqualification criteria for holding office, giving unprecedented powers to the board secretary, and preventing the court from having a say if the BCCI wants to alter its constitution in the future.
At present, all five BCCI office-bearers including vice-president Rajiv Shukla have finished six consecutive years in some office, having earlier served at their respective state associations before becoming BCCI office bearers. The tenure of Sourav Ganguly as BCCI president and Jay Shah, as secretary are technically under extension and will end in September.
According to the current rules, any person who has been an office bearer in the BCCI or state cricket body, or any combination, has to undergo a mandatory three year ‘cooling off period’ following a maximum six-year term in office. During this period, they cannot hold office in either a state body or in the BCCI. This would effectively bar the current office bearers of the BCCI from holding any posts either in the BCCI or any state board, for the next three years.
Ganguly was to start his cooling-off period after July 2020, having started as secretary at the Cricket Association of Bengal in 2014, following which he became the association’s president in 2015, and was re-elected in September 2019 before moving to the BCCI. As for Shah, he was elected joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association in 2014.