Lodha committee was set up by the Supreme Court to recommend reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The three-member panel was headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha.
SC has accepted following recommendations of Lodha Committee:
- Ministers and civil servants and those above 70 years of age cannot become BCCI members.
- An office-bearer of BCCI cannot hold a post for more than three years
- Parliament to decide whether BCCI should come under the Right to Information Act (RTI)
- There should be a player’s association in the BCCI
- Disallowing BCCI office-bearer from holding dual posts simultaneously i.e. in a state cricket association and in the BCCI
- Each state should have only one vote. States like Maharashtra and Gujarat having more than one cricket association will have voting rights on rotational basis
- Member of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to be included in the BCCI’s governing council
- The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has constituted a special seven-member committee (Rajeev Shukla Committee) to analyse the few contentious Lodha panel reforms which are being opposed by the state units.
- One of the major reforms of the Lodha Committee which are being opposed by the state units speaks about disqualifying any individual who is more than 70-years-old, and who has already completed nine years in cricket administration.
- BCCI’s move to constitute a committee is widely seen as its attempt to delay the implementations of the reforms suggested by the Lodha Committee.
Relaxation given by SC:
- Two years after accepting the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, the Supreme Court has now extended some concessions to those aggrieved by the rigorous rules, which aimed to revamp cricket administration in the country.
- Cooling off period:
- Against the panel’s view that every office-bearer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, in the national board or in a State association, should have a three-year break after a three-year term, the court has now allowed two three-year terms — that is, a tenure of six years — before the mandatory break kicks in
- The logic behind a cooling-off period is that office-bearers should not be given lengthy tenures that enable them to establish personal fiefdoms.
- The argument against it is that the experience and knowledge that office-bearer gains over three years should not be frittered away, and a second term could help consolidate such learnings.
- One State One Vote Rule:
- The Lodha panel had also favoured the ‘one State, one vote’ norm. This meant that an association representing a State alone should be recognised as a voting member of the BCCI, while associations representing a region within a State or entities that do not represent a territory should not have the same vote or status.
- This norm has been overruled. Gujarat and Maharashtra will have three votes each, as the associations of Baroda and Saurashtra in Gujarat, and Mumbai and Vidarbha in Maharashtra will have separate votes.
- In this, too, the court has accepted the reasoning that associations that had contributed significantly to Indian cricket need not be stripped of their full membership.
- Cooling off period:
All 15 salient recommendations are (Not important)
- Membership : ‘One State, One Vote’. Only cricket Associations representing the States would have voting rights as Full Members of the Board, thereby ensuring equality among the territorial divisions. Any other existing members would be Associate Members.
- Zones : ‘Zones for Tournaments alone’. The Zones would be relevant only for the purpose of the tournaments conducted amongst themselves, but not for nomination to the governance of the Board or to the various Standing Committees.
- State Associations : ‘State Associations – Uniformity in Structure’. The Associations that are the Members would necessarily have to restrict the tenures of office bearers and prescribe disqualifications, do away with proxy voting, provide transparency in functioning, be open to scrutiny and audit by the BCCI and include players in membership and management. They would also have to abide by the conflict of interest policy prescribed by the Board, and divorce the Association from the social club, if any.
- Office Bearers : ‘Limited Tenures & Cooling Off’. While all the existing office bearers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Joint Secretary) are retained in honorary positions, the number of Vice Presidents is pruned from five to one. Their duties have been realigned. The President is shorn of his say in selections. The additional vote for the President at meetings is deleted. The terms of these Office Bearers continue to be of 3 years, but with a maximum of 3 such terms regardless of the post held, with a cooling off period after each such term.
- Governance : ‘Governance separated from management’. The 14 member Working Committee is replaced by a 9 member Apex Council (with one-third independent members) consisting of the Office Bearers of the BCCI, an elected representative of the General Body, two representatives of the Players Association (one man and one woman) and one nominee from the C&AG’s office. Terms of eligibility and disqualification are specified with a bar on Ministers and government servants.
- Management : ‘Professionalism in management’. Professionalism is brought in by introducing a CEO with strong credentials assisted by a team of managers to handle non-cricketing affairs. The large number of Standing Committees and Sub-Committees created by the BCCI has been reduced to two essential ones that would advice the CEO with reference to tours, technical aspects and tournaments.
The selection, coaching, performance evaluation and umpiring are to be handled by Cricket Committees manned only by former professionals. Specific provisions have been made to encourage cricket for women and the differently-abled.
- The IPL : ‘Limited Autonomy for IPL’. The Governing Council of the IPL is reduced to 9, but includes 2 representatives of the Franchisees and nominees of the Players’ Association and the C&AG’s office.
- Players : ‘A voice for Players’. There shall be a Cricket Players’ Association affording membership to all international and most first class men and women retired cricketers. This Association shall discharge assigned functions with the financial support of the BCCI. It shall be brought into existence by an independent steering committee.
- Agents : ‘Arms length for agents’. Players’ interests are protected by ensuring that their Agents are registered under the prescribed norms administered by the BCCI and the Players’ Cricket Association.
- Conflict of Interest : ‘Avoidance of conflicts’. Detailed norms have been laid down to ensure there is no direct or indirect, pecuniary or other conflict or appearance thereof in the discharge of the functions of those persons associated or employed by the BCCI, its Committees, its Members or the IPL Franchisees. These norms shall be administered by an Ethics Officer.
- The Ombudsman and the Electoral Officer : ‘Independent monitors’. Provision has been made to have an independent ombudsman to resolve grievances of Members, Administrators, Players and even members of the public as per the procedures laid down. Similarly, an independent Electoral Officer to oversee the entire electoral process is also mandated.
- Functioning : ‘Transparency’. The BCCI must provide the relevant information in discharge of its public functions. All rules and regulations, norms, details of meetings, expenditures, balance sheets, reports and orders of authorities are to be uploaded on the website as well.
- Oversight : ‘Accountability’. An independent auditor to verify how the Full Members have expended the grants given to them by the BCCI, to record their targets and milestones, and to submit a separate compliance report in this regard.
- Betting & Match-fixing : ‘Legalization for betting and Criminalization for match-fixing’. A recommendation is made to legalize betting (with strong safeguards), except for those covered by the BCCI and IPL regulations. Also a recommendation for match/spot-fixing to be made a criminal offence.
- Ethics for Players : ‘Awareness and sensitization’. Provisions to be made for lectures, classes, handbooks and mentoring of young players.
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