Politicians Only in Advisory Role, Insists SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday suggested that the cricket board have a special advisory body comprising ministers and politicians, but keep them out of the elected body managing the sport.
Questioning the board’s opposition to the Lodha panel’s suggestion for barring politicians from contesting for the sports body, a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifullah asked whether this was due to the fear that the government may take over its administration.
“It is a not a happy situation…where the system cannot work without political clout for carrying out a legitimate cricketing activity,” Justice Thakur said. In that case, the CJI suggested, the board should not be averse to being taken over by the government through a parliamentary enactment. “You are discharging public functions. Why can’t the functions be carried out by the government,” he asked.
The court’s observations came as the cricket board dug in its heels over the Lodha panel suggestions to eliminate serious conflict of interest issues which have plagued the game in recent years and surfaced in the form of malaises such as match fixing and spot fixing. The Lodha panel appointed by the court to look into the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had, among other things, also suggested fixing an age limit of 70 for its office bearers and a one-state-association, one-vote rule.
On Wednesday, the bench expressed its displeasure over the manner in which BCCI lavished funds on some state associations while ignoring others. BCCI had over the years ignored 11 states, particularly Bihar, Chhattisgarh and the northeastern states, while handing out .₹ 60 crore to Goa in a year, the CJI said. The Mumbai Cricket Association urged the court not to bar ministers and politicians from contesting BCCI elections. Both MCA and the Baroda Cricket Association argued that the BCCI could only be regulated as a society and its functions cannot be taken over by the government.
Arguments will continue on Monday.