On July 18 Supreme Court order had suggested certain reforms with the Board. The BCCI, however, refused to comply. The three-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court showed anger over the continued defiance of BCCI in implementing its July 18 order. It then decided to pass an interim order to ensure the Justice RM Lodha panel reforms were fully complied with.
Earlier, the CJI warned the BCCI that that there will be no domestic cricket matches if the board and its member-associations do not fall in line with the Lodha Committee reforms. The CJI said the BCCI will be asked to stop all payments to the state cricket associations for hosting domestic matches, including the Ranji Trophy. The state associations may also be asked to reimburse Rs 400 crore disbursed by the BCCI on September 30 in a Special General Meeting (SGM).
Mr Sibal and senior counsel Arvind Datar opposed any such intention to stop payment to the associations, saying domestic season was on and Ranji Trophy matches had started, with Tamil Nadu taking on Mumbai in Rohtak on Thursday. Mr Datar told the court, “Then there will be no domestic matches.” The CJI shot back, “If matches are to be conducted, they will be held in a transparent manner. Season or no season, we will not allow a penny to be wasted. Objectivity and transparency is more important than seasons.”
Earlier, amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramanian informed the court that despite several emails sent to the BCCI office-bearers, neither the president, nor the secretary appeared before the Lodha panel and it was taking all steps not to implement the recommendations.
The CJI asked amicus curiae as to what qualifications he want for appointment of administrators as an interim basis till the BCCI fell in line with the recommendations, Mr Subramaniam said any one with unimpeachable integrity could head the panel. When the CJI wanted to know what was the qualification of BCCI President Anurag Thakur, amicus curiae said he is a politician. Mr Sibal said Mr Thakur is a class one cricketer having played for Himachal Pradesh Ranji team. Another counsel intervened and said Mr Thakur had played only one match. The CJI said he had also played cricket for the Supreme Court in the match with the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Taking note of the complaint of amicus curiae, the CJI faulted the BCCI for transferring Rs 400 crore overnight to its state associations, which went against the Lodha panel’s recommendations. Justice Thakur said that the BCCI should have exercised transparency when funding state associations, adding that an amount as large as Rs 400 crore cannot be disbursed overnight.
Mr Sibal said that majority of the state associations have not accepted the recommendations, and the BCCI had no powers to force compliance from its member-state associations as they had a mind of their own. The CJI said. “People want money from you but at the same time they are not ready to reform. Why do you pay money to those who do not listen to you? Nobody can say I want money but I will not reform. you tell them if you want money you reform. Stop payment to all associations who are not ready to reform. To those to whom money has been disbursed, let them refund. Did not the Lodha panel warn you against such unauthorised disbursement?”