New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to keep “perfect accounting” of the funds it gives to affiliated state associations and noted that while some states were getting huge funds, others were drawing a blank.
“You must have a perfect accounting system. It should be transparent. You are distributing huge amounts every year. Which will increase every year. It may touch Rs.1000 crore,” said the apex court bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.
“The impression one gets from the Lodha Committee report is that you (BCCI) give money to some states (cricketing bodies) and allow them to spend the way they want without asking them to account for it,” Chief Justice Thakur added.
The court’s observation on the laid-back approach of the country’s apex cricketing body, making its state affiliates accountable for the funds received from it, came in the course of the hearing of the objections by the BCCI to some of the recommendations by the Lodha Committee for reforming the cricket administration in the country.
The BCCI is finding it particularly difficult to implement the Lodha Committee’s recommendation of a maximum of two terms for office bearers, one state one vote, co-opting a CAG representative on the BCCI board, and putting a ceiling of 65 years on the upper age of office bearers.
Referring to the lack of strict accountability of the funds given by the BCCI to its state affiliates, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the cricket body, said that at its last AGM the BCCI decided to appoint an external auditor to audit its accounts, including the money flowing from it to its state affiliates.
The apex court in its last hearing on the matter on March 3 had asked the BCCI, “We want you to show us what is the money you have given to the states. What is the plan you have indicated to the states for the use of money allocated to them, and was there any monitoring. How much you have given? Was it monitored?”
“Certain recommendations we have accepted and implemented, in case of some of the recommendations we have the difficulty in accepting and implementing them,” Venugopal told the court.
As Venugopal tried to find fault with some recommendations of the Lodha Committee, describing them as “difficult” to implement, Chief Justice Thakur said, “It is not an ordinary committee of government officers. This is an important committee headed by former Chief Justice R.M.Lodha.”
“The Lodha Committee has not changed the rules of the games. Changes (are for) only those who manage the (affairs of apex cricketing) body. The committee has not said that there should be seven balls in an over.”
Perusing the BCCI’s response on the funding of its state associations, the court noted that while in Maharashtra and Gujarat four and three associations respectively were being funded by the country’s top cricket body, in 11 states there was no funding.
Senior counsel Ashok Desai appearing for the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) told the court that all the state cricket associations could not be covered under the same rules as recommended by the Lodha Committee as some of them are registered as societies and some as companies.
As Desai objected to the age limit of 65 years for the office bearers, contending that in the PCA the upper age is 70 years, Chief Justice Thakur said that “at 70 years it would be difficult for the people (office bearers) to go to the stadium”.
Next hearing of the matter will be on April 8.