NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday disposed of a “substantial number” of interlocutory applications, filed by state cricket associations, in the cricket reforms case. But a ruling on continuation of BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, and joint secretary Jayesh George, whose terms have got over, was deferred to the next year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has filed an application in the top court, seeking crucial amendments to the Supreme Court-approved constitution, framed by a SC-appointed Lodha Committee.
The court on Wednesday asked the case to be listed in the third week of January.
“A substantial number of applications were disposed of by the court today. A large number of cases that were related to funds have become infructuous while the court said that in the state cricket associations where the amicus curiae (Narasimha) had successfully mediated and helped their hold elections, like Karnataka, were also disposed of,” Narasimha told IANS after the hearing.
“Only some cases remain, and the court asked these to be listed in the third week of January. The BCCI application seeking amendments to its constitution was not taken up today,” he said.
It means that Ganguly, Shah, and George would continue in the chair in 2021, despite their terms having got over the past few months. Interestingly, the BCCI will be having its Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) on December 24, and Ganguly would chair that meeting, with Shah and George in attendance.
The new BCCI constitution makes it mandatory for its office-bearers president, vice-president, secretary, joint secretary, and treasurer to go into a three-year cooling-off period after being in the chair for six consecutive years, either in the BCCI or its affiliate state associations, or a combination of both.
The person can return for another term of three years after the cooling-off period (a person can be an office-bearer in the BCCI for a maximum of nine years and another nine years in a state association). And this is one of the seven crucial rules, on which the edifice of the new constitution is erected, and which the BCCI wants amended, and that would allow the present office-bearers to continue in the chair.
After being elected BCCI president on October 23 last year, Ganguly had only 278 days to remain as the BCCI chief as his previous tenure at the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) was added to his BCCI term (he had joined the CAB as a joint secretary in July 2014). So, his BCCI term effectively ended on July 26, 2020.
Secretary Shah, according to reports published in mainline newspapers in 2013, took over as joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) on September 8, 2013, though he was a GCA executive before that. And he has been associated with the GCA since. So, his tenure, too, has gotten over some time ago.
George has been a secretary, joint-secretary, and treasurer of the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for five years and has completed one year as BCCI joint secretary. In September last year, at the time of KCA elections, he was quoted in newspapers as saying: “I was an office-bearer from June 21, 2013, to July 7, 2018. I still have 11 months to complete the six-year term.”
He took a break between July 7, 2018, and September 14, 2019. On September 15, 2019, he became KCA president, a post he relinquished when he became BCCI joint secretary on October 23, 2019. That means he has completed six years continuously as a cricket administrator, excluding the break. Accordingly, he should have gone into cooling off period on September 14.
All three officials are, however, staying put as they are awaiting Supreme Court’s directions on their application that seeks to affect seven amendments to the new BCCI constitution that the apex court has approved. Essentially, their bid is to get rid of Rule 45, which makes it mandatory for the BCCI to get all amendments approved by the Supreme Court, amended.
If this single rule is amended, the spirit and soul of the reforms would die an instant death. And the crores of rupees that BCCI has spent on litigation and the seven-and-a-half years that the Supreme Court has devoted to this case would go down the drain. If the amendment takes place, the beneficiary would not only be Ganguly, Shah, and George, but all other present and future office-bearers, both at the BCCI and its affiliated state cricket associations.