Cooling-off period will deprive cricket of worthy administrators, BCCI tells SC

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the cooling-off period will deprive the cricket of worthy administrators and the country cannot afford to lose experienced individuals, who can take the sport to new heights.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the BCCI, submitted before a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli that as its constitution exists today, there is a cooling-off period and if a person is an office bearer of state cricket association for one term and BCCI for one term, then that person would have to go for cooling-off.

As the bench queried Mehta that he was saying the cooling-off period will be only for two terms in the BCCI and tenure in state cricket association would not be considered, the SG, citing the proposed amendments in the constitution, said the concern of the court that no one should be perennially in charge is taken care of and also the experience gathered at state association is not wasted.

On the aspect of disqualification, Mehta said there are several persons who have contributed to cricket but they are also working in furtherance of other games.

“I don’t want to take names, but one of the finest cricketers is now doing tremendous service in golf,” he said, adding that the restriction of 70 years should also go away, regarding representation in ICC.

Citing the constitution, the bench noted if a person is an office-bearer of another sports association, then that person should not be part of the cricket association.

“If you want to be in cricket, then focus on cricket… the same person should not be there at more than one place,” it orally observed.

It also told Mehta, 70 years is an old age, though there are doctors and lawyers who are still doing well after 70 years, but why having people over 70 years?

As Mehta said that the ICC has no age restriction, the bench said: “Do not tell us that in Cricket Australia or ECB, there are people over 70 years.”

On the aspect of cooling-off period, Mehta submitted the proposed amendment suggests that the term served at the state cricket association should not be considered for cooling-off period. He added that the requirement of cooling-off will kick in only after the office bearer has served two consecutive terms at BCCI, three years plus three years, irrespective of the term at the state association.

Mehta said both state cricket associations and BCCI are distinct, and they have different sets of rules and regulations.

The proposed amendment enables the current office bearers to continue in office despite completing six year — 3 years in state association and 3 years in BCCI.

Mehta said the existing term of three years, after which cooling-off sets in as per the present constitution, is too short a time period to show leadership qualities to take the sport forward.

The top court will continue to hear the matter on Wednesday, and it is likely to pass some interim order in the case.

Earlier, Mehta had told the court that as per earlier orders, the constitution can only be amended with the leave of the court, therefore BCCI moved an application before it.

The BCCI seeks to amend its constitution concerning the tenure of its office bearers including its President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah by doing away with the mandatory cooling-off period between tenures of office bearers across state cricket associations and the BCCI.

The top court approved BCCI’s constitution requiring a mandatory three-year cooling-off period for anyone who had served two consecutive terms of three years each in the state cricket association or the BCCI as it accepted reforms in the BCCI recommended by the Justice R M Lodha-led committee.

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