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BCCI to seek SC direction on amendments to constitution

By HARISH KOTIAN
December 01, 2019 20:01 IST

'From day one we have brought it to the notice of the court respectfully that certain things are difficult to implement and certain things are required for better running of the administration and we just try to do that.'

IMAGE: BCCI secretary Jay Shah, president Sourav Ganguly and treasurer Arun Dhumal. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

The Board of Control for Cricket in India during its Annual General Meeting on Sunday decided that it will seek direction from the Supreme Court on making significant changes to its existing constitution.

"From the day all these amendments got implemented, there was a thought that some of them may not be easy applicable.  You know as things happen in life, when you take decisions and judgements come in, you appeal and you request, you want clarification saying where does this lead to and whether we can try and do it better for the proper administration of the Board.

In a similar manner, just like normal citizens write to the authorities to reconsider we have also written (to the Supreme Court)," BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said after the BCCI AGM in Mumbai on Sunday.

 

Asked if the proposed changes in the amendments to the BCCI constitution have been kept on hold, Ganguly replied: "Yes, certain things not everything. Very few points, six of them but that doesn't stop the running of the Board. Once we get the clarifications that will give us the way forward."

The Ganguly-led BCCI has proposed six major amendments to the existing constitution which was adopted last year keeping in tune with the reforms suggested by the Justice Lodha committee. Among the main amendments, which the Board members want altered are the cooling-off period, not needing the Supreme Court's approval while amending the rules, handing more power to the secretary, and relaxation of the 70-year age cap clause for the officials representing the BCCI at the International Cricket Council meetings.

The BCCI members are hoping that the Supreme Court will consider their plea and make a favourable decision when it is likely to take up the issue on December 3.

" It is a prayer for certain clarifications."

"At the end of the day it is the court which will decide and this process has gone on for four years now. From day one we have brought it to the notice of the court respectfully that certain things are difficult to implement and certain things are required for better running of the administration and we just try to do that," said former captain Ganguly.

Ganguly's current nine-month stint will get an extension if the dilution of the reform on tenure-cap or the cooling-off period break is amended.

As per the current constitution, which is approved by the Supreme Court, an office-bearer who has served two three-year terms, either at the BCCI or at the state association, goes into a compulsory three-year cooling-off period. The current dispensation wanted that period to kick in only after the individual has finished two terms (six years), at the board and state association separately. If passed with a three-fourth majority, it will effectively extend the tenure of Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah respectively.

The members had also proposed that a three-fourth majority at the AGM should be able to ratify any amendment in the constitution as it is not "practical" to take the Supreme Court's approval, which is required in the existing constitution.

With the BCCI's clout significantly reduced at the ICC due to the administrative crisis over the past three years, the BCCI has proposed that experienced hands must represent India in the world body and the 70-year age cap clause should not apply to them.

Shah will represent the BCCI at the ICC CEC meeting, while a decision is yet to be arrived who represents the Board at the ICC Board meeting.

The other major amendment is seeking to curtails the power of BCCI CEO Rahul Johri. Under the existing constitution, the CEO is the point man for the nine-member apex council but the current set of office-bearers want that role for the secretary Shah, making him more powerful. The top brass also wants the CEO to report to the secretary.

The contentious issue of conflict of interest has always been a contentious point for the administrators. Several past players had expressed unhappiness over the conflict of interest clause, which the CoA, in last status report, had also wanted altered.

Ganguly also believes that the conflict of interest is a major deterrent to the smooth functioning of the BCCI. The Cricket Advisory Committee which has been entrusted with picking the national selectors and the head coach has seen former players like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Kapil Dev resign due to the conflict of interest issue.

Even someone like Rahul Dravid was forced to depose before the BCCI ethics officer D K Jain after he was appointed as the National Cricket Academy director after a conflict of interest complaint was lodged against him.

"The conflict clause stops everyone, A to Z it stops everyone. It has got former cricketers also, former administrators also. That is why we can't make the CAC, we can't make proper selectors. Like me, I can't do anything," said Ganguly.

"It has to be practical. Conflict should only be for someone like us, who are administrators. We are going back to the court for all these clarifications because some of these I don't know where we will finish.

"The conflict issue stops us from everything, to get good people and keep them for longer and to stop them from doing other things is very difficult. We will see what happens, we will do what we can. We will have to get people who are completely out of all this, and ask them to pick it (the selectors), otherwise how will we do it," he said.

Ganguly also stated that the CAC will be in place in 8-10 days only after they get the clarification from the BCCI ethics officer to avoid any confusion later on with regards to the conflict clause.

"We will form the CAC, we met the Honourable (Ethics Offier) DK Jain yesterday over the conflict of interest issue and we will appoint the CAC because as your aware with Rahul Dravid’s judgement, when we were conflicted last time, we were cleared. We needed to get proper clarity from him (Jain) on what is conflict and what is not conflict because we don’t want to appoint someone and then he gets cancelled, like it has happened with us, the past two times and Kapil Dev and his team so those clarities were required," he said.

Among the other major decisions taken at the BCCI AGM on Sunday were:

  • The state association's subsidy raised from Rs. 70 crore to 100 crore
  • Former captain Mohammad Azharuddin's pending dues were cleared
  • There will be a separate umpire to check on no-balls during the IPL
  • More Pink ball Test matches in India in the future
  • Secretary Jay Shah to represent BCCI at ICC chief executive committee meeting
HARISH KOTIAN / Rediff.com
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