- Fall in line, else we will make you fall in line: Supreme Court tells BCCI
The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Board of Control for Cricket in India, asking it to 'fall in line' after the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha panel sought removal of the BCCI top brass, including its President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke, for non-compliance of the apex court's orders.
The Lodha panel, in its status report filed before the apex court, had sought the replacement of the cricket body's top brass with cricket administrators.
It said the BCCI and its office bearers are not complying with directions and repeatedly issuing statements to undermine the authority of the court and the members of the Lodha panel, which had recommended structural reforms in the cricket board.
The counsel appearing for the Lodha panel said the BCCI is not replying to emails and other communications sent to it and repeatedly defying the court's orders.
The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur took note of the submissions and said these are serious allegations and the BCCI has to follow the court's directions.
"If the BCCI thinks that they are a law unto themselves, then they are wrong. They have to comply with the directions of the court," the bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
"You (the BCCI) are behaving like lords. Fall in line otherwise we will make you fall in line," the bench said, adding that, "BCCI is bringing the system to disrepute by not following the directions".
Senior advocate Arvind Datar appearing for BCCI said that they have complied with most of the directions and would gradually comply with the rest.
To this the bench said, "Law needs not to be defied. We are not happy about the things going on. We anticipated this approach from BCCI but this is not done. You will have to fall in line with the directions of the court."
The Cricket Association of Bihar also approached the apex court and said the review petition pending before the court should be taken up urgently.
They said the review petition filed by the BCCI is still in defects with the registry and they are not pursuing it to be taken up for hearing.
The bench posted the matter for hearing on October 6.
The BCCI recently defied the Lodha panel's recommendations by making key appointments at its 87th annual general meeting in Mumbai last week.
Shirke was elected unopposed as BCCI secretary while the senior and junior selection panels were also named despite the Lodha panel making it clear that the AGM must be 'limited only to routine business concerning the past year (2015-16)'.
The Lodha panel had recommended a set of sweeping reforms in the BCCI, including restricting the tenure of office bearers, introducing a cooling-off period for administrators, cutting down the present five-member selection panel to three and employing the one state one vote policy, among others. The Lodha panel was formed by the Supreme Court in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal.
The apex court on July 18, accepted major recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms in the BCCI including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming its members but left it to Parliament to decide whether it should come under the Right to Information Act and betting on the game should be legalised.
The bench also requested the three-member panel, also comprising former apex court judges Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran to oversee the transition of administrative structure in BCCI which has to take place within six months.
Some 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 court also accepted the recommendations of the committee headed by retired Chief Justice of India R M Lodha to have a CAG nominee in the BCCI.
The BCCI has called for a Special General Meeting on September 30 to consider the amendments to the rules and regulations of the board, as recommended by the Lodha Committee.
The panel had set the BCCI two deadlines -- September 30 to make constitutional changes and December 15 for the board to form a nine-member apex committee that will replace the working committee.
IMAGE: BCCI President Anurag Thakur. Photograph: PTI