Ganguly Shah Hearing: Can’t micro-manage BCCI functioning, says Supreme Court; to pass order on tenure of office bearers
Ganguly Shah Hearing: The Supreme Court noted that the BCCI is an autonomous entity and cannot micro-manage its operations. On Tuesday, the court also questioned the top cricket organisation in the nation on its desire to send players older than 70 to represent the country in the ICC.
The Supreme Court’s comments came during a hearing on the Board’s request to change its constitution in order to eliminate the required cooling-off period for office holders across state cricket associations and the BCCI, including its President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah.
The top court, which said that the cooling off period will not be scrapped between the tenures of office bearers as “the purpose of the cooling off period is that there should be no vested interest,” said it will continue with the hearing Wednesday and pass order.
A three-year cooling-off period is required for office holders who serve two consecutive terms in either the state association, the BCCI, or both organisations combined, according to the BCCI’s adopted constitution.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, speaking on behalf of the BCCI, informed the court of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli that cricket is much simplified in the nation.
He said that the Supreme Court had stated that some adjustments might be made with the permission of the court once the byelaws were functionally ready.
He claimed that the BCCI is a self-governing organisation and that the cricket governing body’s AGM has taken into account all developments.
While the submission was being made, the bench said “BCCI is an autonomous body. We cannot micro-manage its functioning.”
Mehta said, “As the constitution exists today, there is a cooling off period. If I am an office bearer of the state cricket association for one term and BCCI for another consecutive term. Then I have to go for a cooling off period”.
He continued by saying that the two bodies were different, their regulations were also different, and two consecutive terms for an office holder were insufficient to foster leadership at the local level.
The Solicitor General said, “Leadership develops at the grassroots level and it remains in the state association. By the time, his time comes for elevated to the BCCI; he has to go for a mandatory three-year cooling-off period. One cannot become a member of the BCCI if he is not an active member of the state association”.
He continued by saying that the post held by a BCCI office bearer in a state organisation should not be taken into account for the cooling-off period.
While submissions made, Justice Chandrachud cautioned, “We are engaging in discussion and not passing any judgement. Social media thinks that whatever we say in court that’s judgement. But that is just a dialogue to elicit a response and better understanding of facts”.
The bench ruled that, in accordance with the provisions of the current constitution, an office bearer of the state association cannot take a position in the BCCI without first serving a three-year cooling-off period.
Mehta claimed that the court’s concern—that no one should hold permanent leadership positions within the cricket governing body—had addressed by proposing a cooling-off period following two consecutive terms in the BCCI. This would prevent the experience of “worthy administrators” from wasted.
According to him, the BCCI wants the requirement that members of the governing council at least 70 years old to represented on the International Cricket Council to eliminated.
The bench said, “Why should we have people above 70 years, let young people represent the country in ICC? We are not saying that people above the age of 70 years have not done exemplary work. But it’s a sport. We have our Attorney General, who is above 70. There are some doctors above 70 who are doing exemplary work in their field”.
Mehta said, “ICC is a council where it decided, which country gets how much funds. There are heavy negotiations among the veterans from the cricket bodies across the world. My young man will have to deal with these veterans, who have 30-40 years of experience in dealing with cricket”.
He continued by saying that there are no age restrictions for ICC representation in any region of the world.
The bench said, “Do you mean to say that Cricket Australian Board. Or England and Wales Cricket Board do not have any age restrictions for ICC representation? Show us the material on record. We don’t have any material before us with regard to that. You place it”.
The bench announced that it would continue the hearing on Wednesday. And requested that senior amicus curiae attorney Maninder Singh compile all the information.
The bench said it will pass the order.
Singh suggested that if a person should permitted to serve for two consecutive terms of six years in the cricket organisation. If they have already completed a three-year term as an office bearer for a state association. And the BCCI without having to observe the required three-year cooling-off period.
By eliminating the cooling-off period for its office holders. The BCCI hopes to allow Sourav Ganguly to continue serving as president. And also Jay Shah as secretary of their state cricket organisations after serving for six years each.
Earlier, the top court accepted the BCCI reform recommendations made by the committee headed by Justice R M Lodha.
(With PTI inputs)