India Supreme Court reserves its order

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BCCI counsel Kapil Sibal asks for more time.

The Supreme Court of India has reserved its order regarding the Lodha Committee’s status report, which had recommended that the BCCI office bearers be “superseded” and a panel of administrators be appointed to implement the court-approved recommendations.

The hearing began at 2pm and lasted two hours, after which the judges informed the parties that they were reserving the order, pending further deliberation. It could be passed any time in the coming week.

On Monday the court heard from amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium that the BCCI’s “consistent attitude of defiance” warranted the appointment of a panel of administrators. The board’s counsel Kapil Sibal, however, asked for more time to “persuade” the state units to accept the recommendations, but also suggested that in certain cases the Lodha Committee was going beyond the original judgement.

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The court observed that replacing the BCCI’s office bearers would be an “extreme measure” but did not rule it out, and also asked Subramanium for other methods that could be used.

Subramanium asked for all funding to be stopped to states that refused to comply, that office bearers disqualified under the Lodha Committee’s recommendations be removed immediately, and that future BCCI contracts go through the Lodha Committee. The next major contract is for the IPL broadcast rights.

When the court asked if Subramanium meant the BCCI could do whatever it wanted “through the approval of the Committee until such time that the reforms are implemented”, the amicus curiae offered no objection. Another option discussed was to “appoint a committee or an officer” who reports to the Lodha Committee.

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The BCCI’s counsel continued to argue that constitutional changes could only be made to the board through a two-thirds majority of its members. “We have not defied any judgement,” Sibal said in response to the court. “We are just finding some of the recommendations difficult to implement.”

The BCCI president Anurag Thakur said that the board needed more time. “You need 3/4th majority to adopt these recommendations. We have done our duty to go back to the state associations and they have to take a call on that. If you don’t have 3/4th majority, you cannot adopt these recommendations,” he said after the hearing. “Right now there is more confusion in the state associations on how to implement the recommendations, I think we need more clarity.”

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