New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to not release funds to 12 state cricket associations and barred the remaining 13 associations from spending the amount already released to them, till they accept the Justice Lodha committee reforms in “letter and spirit.”
Passing this interim order, a bench of chief justice T.S. Thakur and justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud indicated that it will consider passing a final order on October 17, when hearing will resume.
Soon after Thakur read out the operative portion of the order, BCCI counsel Radha Rangaswamy told the bench “we do not have the intention not to obey the recommendations and are not running away. We just have certain technical impediments.” The CJI told her “Don’t worry we intend to remove all your impediments. Please don’t precipitate matters. It is not a pleasant task for us to pass such orders. Go in the right direction, file an affidavit of undertaking.”
The bench said the amounts can be released only after the concerned state associations pass a proper resolution to the effect that it is agreeable to undertake and to support the reforms as proposed and accepted by this court in letter and spirit. Upon such a resolution being passed, a copy of the same shall be filed before Justice Lodha Committee with an affidavit of the President of the State Association concerned unequivocally undertaking to abide by the reforms as proposed by the committee and accepted and modified by this court.
The bench said the 13 associations shall not appropriate the said amount except after they have passed a resolution and filed an affidavit before Justice Lodha Committee and before this court. In case the affidavits are not filed, the amount disbursed to the state associations shall be invested by the associations in a term deposit subject to further directions of this court. The bench said other aspects of the recommendations will be considered on the next date of hearing.
Producing original records
The bench also directed Ratnakar Shivaram Shetty, general manager, admin and game development of BCCI to place on record a copy of the authorisation or resolution passed by the BCCI on the basis of which he has filed the affidavit supporting the response of the BCCI to the status report. The Bench asked Anurag Thakur, president of the BCCI to file a personal affidavit whether he had asked the CEO of the ICC to state that the appointment of Justice Lodha Committee was tantamount to government interference in the working of the BCCI. It asked Arvind Datar to produce the original record on the basis of which the affidavit by Shetty on behalf of BCCI has been filed.
The CJI who wrote the order said “by our order dated 18.07.2016, we had while accepting the report submitted by Justice Lodha committee and the recommendations made therein requested the committee to supervise the transition from the old to the new system in the wake of the reforms proposed by the committee. We had hoped that this transition will be completed within a period of four months or at best six months from the date of the order and requested the committee headed by Justice Lodha to draw appropriate timelines for the implementation of the recommendations and supervise the process.”
The bench said the sequence of events that have taken place since 18th July and referred to in the status report prima facie give an impression that BCCI has, far from lending its fullest cooperation to the committee, adopted an obstructionist and at times a defiant attitude which the committee has taken note of and described as an impediment undermining not only the committee but even the dignity of the Supreme Court.
The order said several decisions of the board as set out in the status report were taken in violation of the directives issued by the committee acting as impediment in the implementation of the judgement of this court. Datar argued that as against 25 Associations only 13 Associations have so far received the balance amount of Rs.16.73 crores each. Hence it restrained the board from releasing to these 12 associations. It said “we do not at this stage propose to express any final view on the true intention behind the disbursement of the amount in favour of the state associations and whether, and if so what, action is called for against BCCI and its office holders. All that we wish to say is that the BCCI could and indeed ought to have avoided the disbursement of such a huge amount while Justice Lodha Committee was still examining the need for formulating a disbursement policy.” The bench posted the matter for further hearing on October 17.