“The argument that since ministerial and bureaucratic support and patronage has helped the BCCI in running its affairs in the past, they should be allowed to continue,lest the game suffers, has not impressed us. We do not think that the game flourishes in this country because any minister or civil servant holds office in the state associations or the BCCI,” Chief Justice Thakur said while pronouncing the judgement. The bench contended that ministers and bureaucrats who are passionate about the game will continue to promote it without holding any office in the BCCI or the state associations.
Addressing the BCCI objection to the recommendation of one state one vote, more so the contribution made by the six associations — three each in Maharashtra and Gujarat — to the game historically and by some of them even in the formation of BCCI itself, the court said that the arguments could not be “lightly brushed aside”.
The six bodies are Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Gujarat Cricket Association, Baroda cricket Association and Saurashtra Cricket Association.
“The only reasonable and rational answer to the problem within the broad principle of one state one vote would be to allow the full membership of BCCI to rotate among the three clubs on an annual basis. During the period one of the associations would exercise rights and privileges of a full member, the other two associations would act as associate members,” the court said.
On the question of bringing the BCCI within the ambit of the Right to Information Act, as it discharged the public functions and Lodha Committee recommendation to legalise betting, the court asked the Law Commission to examine the two issues and make suitable recommendations. “A three year term recommended by the Committee is, in our opinion, reasonable. So also, the prescription of cooling off period between two terms cannot be faulted. Similarly, an optimum period of nine years as a member of the apex council cannot also be termed as unreasonable,” the court aded. The apex court’s verdict could affect some of the most high profile BCCI officials including current president Anurag Thakur, who also heads the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association.
Some of the other officials who could be affected are BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke, treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhary and joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary, all of whom will now have to forego their positions in their respective state associations to avoid conflict of interest. Former BCCI presidents Sharad Pawar and N. Srinivasan may also have to give up on their ambitions of heading the world’s richest cricket body again as both of them have surpassed the age cap of 70 years. While Pawar is 75 years old, Srinivasan is