Judgment will affect the structure of reforms: Lodha

Judgment will affect the structure of reforms: Lodha

Justice (retd) R M Lodha

New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgment on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reforms has left Justice (retd) R M Lodha a disappointment man. The court has diluted the key reforms recommended by the Supreme Court-appointed panel. Justice Lodha noted the judgment would affect the very structure of the reforms.

The apex court did away with the ‘one state, one vote’ policy recommended by the committee, and restored full membership status to Saurashtra, Vadodara, Mumbai and Vidarbha cricket associations.

The court also retained the full BCCI membership of Railways, Services and Association of Indian Universities, which was cancelled on recommendations of the Lodha panel. The court also relaxed the cooling-off period of the office-bearers. The BCCI officials will now be allowed to serve two consecutive terms, instead of one, before they have to take a cooling-off period.

“They have diluted the reforms like one state, one vote, and cooling-off period of the office bearers -- all of which were accepted by the Supreme Court on July 18, 2017. But in the final hearing, they have made modifications. I am disappointed because these dilutions will affect the structure of the reforms. But there is nothing that can be done now. We have to accept the decision of the Supreme Court,” Justice Lodha told DH.

“The reason the cooling-off period was introduced was to break the monopoly of the same office-bearers. Similarly, the reason the panel suggested one state, one vote was to bring all states on par. Now, Mumbai and Gujarat combined will have six votes in an election, which is bound to creatan e imbalance.”

What surprised Justice Lodha was that the Supreme Court bench made the changes in the jurisprudential aspect. “We in the panel believed that such reforms were needed to lay a strong foundation. We had gone deep into the things and it has been a long exercise, and the final layout, which, as I said before, was accepted by the Supreme Court. Normally Supreme Court does not make a lot of changes to the jurisprudential aspect,” he said.

Justice Lodha, however, admitted that despite the modifications the fresh ruling will change the functioning of the BCCI forever. “Despite the disappointments, there are positives to look at. The Supreme Court has accepted most of the other recommendations. So, the BCCI will never be able to function in the same manner now. Whether it is the office-bearers or operations, once the new constitution comes in place, BCCI will have to work according to that,” he said.

Asked about the role of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), Justice Lodha remarked: “The key job of CoA was to implement the mandate of the reforms. I know there a lot of issues, but it kept swinging like a pendulum and a lot of time was lost. They were not able to implement the mandate.”



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