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SC scolds BCCI, asks it to 'fall in line' and implement Lodha panel reforms

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave a stern message to BCCI asking it to 'fall in line' with the recommendations of Justice R M Lodha Committee which has suggested a massive restructuring of the country's apex cricket body.


Justice R M Lodha

The apex court said the recommendations are 'straight, rational and understandable' and 'deserve respect' and 'there is no reason to disagree with the committee' which has the most "illuminated and respected members of the legal community".

While four weeks time was granted to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to respond on the implementation of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, the court made it clear that since ample opportunity was given to all stakeholders over a long period and their views were taken into consideration before preparing the final report, there should not be any difficulty in accepting the recommendations.

The remarks by a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur came after senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, representing BCCI, said there was a need to consult the 30-odd members of the Board on the recommendations and in view of its legal committee's meeting on February 7, four weeks be allowed to respond.

However, the bench said "they all have been heard and have given their views to the Committee. Ask your client to take a strict view of the recommendations. You can't jump the gun. You must see the recommendations. These recommendations deserve respect. They have come from the most illuminated and respected members of the legal community. They had invited people and have done extensive deliberations with all stakeholders. The recommendations are straightforward, understandable and rational."

"The best thing is to fall in line and follow the suggestions to save the trouble," the bench, which also comprised Justice F M I Kalifulla, said. "Ultimately any transition and change has to come with whatever problems it has," the bench said while accepting the Committee's report which also exonerated former Chief Operating Officer of IPL Sunder Raman of all charges.

The BCCI had submitted that it should not be seen as 'obstructionist' and it would come back with 'concrete suggestions' after the meeting of the legal committee. However, the bench said 'decks must be cleared for complete reform'.

When Naphade said several technical problems would arise in implementing the recommendations of the committee as BCCI is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, the bench said it would give the solution for following the suggestions.

"We will find an easy solution. We have simple solutions. We will accept all recommendations. We will say that since BCCI has difficulties and impediments in respecting and implementing the recommendations, we will direct the same committee to push all recommendations. They will tell you where to get the registration. We will ask the judges (in the committee) to help BCCI in implementing the recommendations.

"We don't want or intend or dictate a lengthy order. We want and we would end by directing that committee to steer the BCCI in implementation of the recommendations," the bench said.

Realising the tough stand taken by the bench, Naphade said, "I can see the writing on the wall."

The bench said there was not much complication in the recommendations and if BCCI found any anomaly it can be looked into. 

"There is no reason to disagree with the committee," the bench said while making it clear that some people are going to be affected by the implementation of the Justice Lodha Committee's recommendations.

The bench, which was hearing the plea filed by Aditya Verma, Secretary of Cricket Association of Bihar, on whose petition N Srinivasan was asked by the apex court to step down as the BCCI President for conflict of interest, posted the matter for further hearing on March 3. 

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