Story: NEW DELHI / PTI | 03rd January 2017, 12:00 Hrs
Pic Credit: BCCI-THAKUR
Thakur also slapped with contempt notices for filing false affidavit
LODHA PANEL RECOMMENDATIONS
* A person shall be disqualified from being an office bearer if he or she is not a citizen of India
* Shall be disqualified if he/shee has attained 70 years, is declared to be insolvent or of unsound mind
* No office bearer should be a minister or government servant, hold any office or post in a sports or athletic association * Should not hold post in sports federation apart from cricket or has been an office bearer of BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years
* Should not have been charged by a court of law for having committed any criminal offence.
* Office bearers of BCCI and its affiliated state associations, who fail to meet the norms shall forthwith demit and cease to hold office
BCCI will now realise
the no one is above
the law: Justice Lodha
THAKUR'S OUSTER IS
BIG BLOW TO INDIAN
CRICKET: VINOD PHADKE
>> See pg 12
Coming down heavily on the defiant BCCI brass, the Supreme Court on Monday removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke as President and Secretary for “obstructing” and “impeding” its directions for overhauling governance in the cricket body, which will now be overseen by a committee of administrators.
Acknowledging that it has been forced to take “coercive” steps to mend matters in the Board, the court ordered that till the committee is formed, its administration will be headed by the senior-most Vice President while the senior-most Joint Secretary will perform the duties of Secretary.
Notwithstanding the curative petitions filed by the BCCI, which was seen as a ruse for continuance of some office bearers, the court set out conditions based on Lodha committee recommendations for their removal--like bar on those 70 years, ministers, civil servants and those in positions beyond 9 years.
The court also slapped Thakur with contempt and perjury notices for filing a false affidavit over writing to ICC on the issue of autonomy.
“The President and Secretary and office bearers of BCCI have obstructed the implementation of the final directions of this Court on the basis of a specious plea that its State Associations are not willing to abide by the directions,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, who will demit office tomorrow.
It slammed Thakur saying “his actions and conduct rendered himself unfit for continuance as President of BCCI” and he is “liable to be proceeded with for contempt of court for having obstructed and impeded the orders of this Court.” The top court issued show cause notice to Thakur to explain as to why he should not be prosecuted under Section 195 read with Section 340 of the CrPC for filing “false” affidavit before it that he did not sought letter from ICC president Shashank Manohar on the recommendation for appointment of CAG nominee in board would amount to “government interference”.
“The conduct of the President of BCCI in seeking a letter from the President of ICC in August 2016, after the final judgement and Order of this Court, is nothing but an attempt on the part of the head of BCCI to evade complying, with the Order of this Court,” the apex court said while issuing show cause notice to Thakur to respond as to why he should not be proceeded against for the contempt of court.
The apex court said that a committee of administrators shall supervise the administration of BCCI through its Chief Executive Officer and directed that till then the senior-most Vice-President of BCCI shall perform the duties of the President and the Joint Secretary shall perform the duties of Secretary.
The bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said though sufficient opportunities have been granted to BCCI to comply with the judgement and order of this Court, it has failed to do so.
“This Court having furnished sufficient opportunities to BCCI to comply, it is constrained now to take recourse to coercive steps to ensure that the directions contained in its final judgement and order are not left to be a writ in sand,” it said.
The bench said the Lodha panel consists of a former Chief Justice of India and two former Judges of the apex court and they have been tasked with overseeing implementation of the judgement of this Court but BCCI left no stone unturned to frustrate the former judges of the top court.
“Yet, the Committee has repeatedly been confronted with a barrage of unfortunate comments by BCCI-in Press conferences and in correspondence--with an intent that it should lead to a situation where it throws up its arms in despair and frustration,” the bench said.
With regard to office bearers continuing at their posts despite the recommendations of Lodha panel being accepted by the court, persons who have a vested interest in continuing in their positions in spite of the norms noted above have ensured that the writ of the court is obstructed and impeded.
“We need to emphasise that the turf of the cricket field is not a personal turf or fiefdom. We must hence order and direct that no person shall hereafter continue to be or be entitled for appointment as office bearer of BCCI or a State Association in breach of the above norms.
“All existing office bearers of BCCI and of the State Associations who do not fulfil the above norms shall with effect from the date of this Order stand disqualified,” it said.
In a slew of directions, the apex court also directed that office bearers of BCCI and its affiliated state associations who fail to meet the norms recommended by Justice R M Lodha panel shall forthwith demit and cease to hold office.
BCCI top honchos
accept SC verdict
Given the marching orders by Supreme Court, the sacked duo of BCCI President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke today said they will abide by the directive even though they made their skepticism with the verdict quite apparent.
Thakur and Shirke were told to quit office with immediate effect by an irate Supreme Court, which held that it was mandatory for the BCCI to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations on administrative reforms in toto.
The court ruled that, for the time being, the senior-most vice President of the BCCI will act as the stand-in President and the joint Secretary would carry out the Secretary's functions. DDCA Vice President CK Khanna, 64, is among the seniormost VPs in the Board right now.
The apex court also issued a contempt notice to Thakur seeking his response as to why he should not be held liable for obstructing the implementation of the Lodha reforms, which were first made mandatory on July 18 last year.
Thakur took a subtle dig at the order saying that if the apex court feels the cricketing body will do well under the guidance of retired judges, “I wish them all the best”.
“For me it was not a personal battle, it was a battle for the autonomy of the sports body. I respect Supreme Court as any citizen should. If Supreme Court judges feel that BCCI could do better under retired judges, I wish them all the best. I am sure Indian cricket will do well under their guidance,” said Thakur.
He reacted to the Supreme Court order by putting up a video clip on social media.
“My commitment to the best of Indian cricket and autonomy of sports will always remain,” he said.
Thakur was BCCI joint secretary and secretary before being elected president in May 2016. The BJP MP has also served as Himachal cricket boss for more than a decade.
“I had the honour of serving Indian cricket. Over the years, Indian cricket saw its best in terms of administration and development of the game. BCCI is the best managed sports organisation in the country with defined procedures. India has the best infrastructure built and maintained by state association with help of BCCI. India has more quality players than anywhere in the world.
Shirke, on the other hand, said he is “absolutely fine” with the Supreme Court order but hoped that the Board does not lose its international standing owing to the administrative upheaval here.
“I have no reaction to that (to his sacking). If that is the Supreme Court order, I cease to be secretary. It cannot get any simpler than that. My role in BCCI is over,” said Shirke shortly after Supreme Court removed him and president Anurag Thakur as the office-bearers of the BCCI.
The two faced the wrath of the Supreme Court after BCCI failed to implement the Lodha panel reforms under their leadership.
When asked whether the situation could have been avoided had the Board implemented the sweeping reforms earlier, Shirke said there was no question of handling the issue differently.
“At the end of the day, the BCCI comprises of members. It is not about me or the president. It is about the members.
“I have no reason to go into history. History can be judged by people differently. I have no personal attachment to the post. In the past also I have resigned and I have lots of other things to do. I came back to the Board as there was a vacancy and I was elected unopposed. Now it has come to this (the Supreme Court). I am completely fine with it and I have no regrets,” said Shirke from the UK.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said the working of BCCI will be looked after by a committee of administrators and requested senior advocate Fali S Nariman and senior advocate Gopal Subramanian, the amicus curiae in the matter, to assist the court in nominating persons of impeccable integrity for the panel.
Shrike hoped the Board does not lose its powerful position on the global stage.
“I hope the new dispensation continues the good work done by the BCCI. Hope the Board doesn't lose more face globally. I also hope the Indian team is able to maintain its supremacy in all three formats of the game,” Shirke added.
Justice R M Lodha, who headed the three-member panel formed by Supreme Court to suggest structural reforms in the BCCI, said it was only a matter of time for the recommendations to be implemented.
“This is a logical consequence because once the reforms were accepted by the Supreme Court, they had to be implemented. There were obstructions and obviously this had to happen and it has happened,” said Lodha.
“One should understand that once the order of the Supreme Court has come, it has to be obeyed. It is law of the land.
It is victory for cricket. The game will flourish.
Administrators come and go but the game goes on,” Lodha added.
The Supreme Court bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said that Nariman and Subramanian will complete the task in two weeks and the matter for passing the direction for nominating the persons in committee of administrators will be taken up on January 19.
Meanwhile, the cricketing fraternity led by former India spinner Bishan Bedi hailed the apex court's verdict.
“This is a landmark judgement. It is good for Indian cricket and it will be back on track. There is light now and we are thankful to the Supreme Court. I don't have to get into debate. This is full and final. This is going to be great news for Indian sports and cricket in particular. If you are watching IOA, it is in shambles. That will be clarified too,” said Bedi.comments powered by Disqus