Further, the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed Lodha panel headed by Justice (Retd) RM Lodha have shaken everything in the organization, right from the root to the branches.

Lodha panel was formed by the honorable Supreme Court of India in order to resurrect the structure of BCCI in January 2015. The observations and recommendations of the panel were tabled on 4th of January, 2016 and since then a major chunk of BCCI's time and energy has been devoted to contesting the proposed changes.

In a significant ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court accepted most of the recommendations of the Lodha panel directly related to the administrative changes in BCCI.

We bring to you the simplified list of 10 important recommendations of the Lodha panel and Supreme Court's take on them.

IPL nominees in governing council: The Supreme Court remanded to the Lodha committee the question whether an IPL franchise member should be in BCCI, saying the panel's recommendation 'does not appear to have addressed the question of conflict of interest'. The Court did not conform with panel's opinion that denying IPL franchisees a place in governing council will lead to lack of independent voice.

The third most populous state in the country ceased to have representation in the BCCI after Jharkhand was carved out of it. Supreme Court ruled that Bihar will also get the representation on basis of one state one association rule. However, it further added that the three cricketing bodies of the state: Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), Bihar Cricket Association (BCA), and Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC) have to sort out their differences and disputes first.

Article 19 (1) (C): The Apex court clearly mentioned that none of the Lodha Panel recommendations violates the rights mentioned under Article 19 (1) (C) of the Indian constitution. Under this article, an individual has a right to form associations or unions. It backed its observation by saying that such right cannot be claimed by an association or union or a cooperative society and is meant for 'citizens only'.

Advertisements: The bench advised BCCI to consider the sentiments of the panel regarding exploitation of commercial space granted and ensure that viewers get to see uninterrupted coverage from first ball to last. However, it declined to rule against the commercial angle and left it for the Board to examine the matter from all possible angles, including whether there is a need for any changes in the existing agreement relating to broadcasting rights.

Associates of BCCI: Supreme Court backed the one state one vote recommendation and stated that three cricket clubs in Maharashtra: Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association, Vidarbha Cricket Association, and in Gujarat - Gujarat Cricket Association, Baroda cricket Association, and Saurashtra Cricket Association would enjoy full membership on rotational basis annually, until the state forms one association to represent it in BCCI.

Dual Post:
The bench concurred with panel recommendation to abolish holding of posts in both state associations and the BCCI, on grounds that the BCCI officials have to keep national interest in mind and holding dual posts could lead to conflict of interest.

Age: The Court did not find anything wrong with the panel's suggestion that the upper age limit for BCCI membership should be 70 years. Further, a candidate can hold the office for maximum 3 years in one stretch and 9 years in total.

Transparency: The bench advocated the appointment of a nominee of CAG and state's Accountant General in the governing council. BCCI had earlier challenged the suggestion saying that government's interference in the work of the Board will lead to its exclusion from the ICC. This does not make sense with the Apex Court which said that any measure which helps in monetary transparency is good for the Board.

Players' Association: Supreme Court gave thumbs up to formation of a separate association of players, giving them a voice and BCCI the choice to decide the extent of financial support.

Betting: The Apex Court has left the issue of legalization of betting in the hands of Center as it would require passing of a law.

By: Ira Shukla

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