India vs Eng Tests : Before Tests, BCCI and Lodha spar in Supreme Court
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Lodha committee spat took a new turn when the Board moved to the Supreme Court, saying there are no funds for the India-England Test series scheduled to start on October 9 in Rajkot. The BCCI said the Lodha panel has to clear the funds required for the series with immediate effect.
Justice Lodha panel secretary, advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, said neither the BCCI nor its member-State associations have given any compliance reports or undertakings that they will comply with the recommendations as per the Supreme Court verdict on October 21.
The court has frozen the disbursal of funds from BCCI to State member associations till the latter comply with the panel recommendations.
The Board approached Justice Dave’s Bench as Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur is heading a Constitution Bench. Justice Dave said his Bench would consult with the Chief Justice and get back at 2 p.m.
The new move on the eve of the series comes despite the Supreme Court concluding in a 21-page judgment that BCCI’s top administrators, including its president and BJP MP Anurag Thakur, were an impediment to Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s efforts to reform Indian cricket.
A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.M. Khanwilkar had said there was “substance” in Justice Lodha Committee’s suggestion that the BCCI bosses’ defiance and intransigence to its recommendations should be punished.
However, the apex court had given the BCCI an “additional opportunity” to prove its bona fide and engineer an all-out effort to induce its member State associations to adopt the Justice Lodha Committee reforms for fairness and transparency in cricket administration.
The BCCI has to accomplish this task by December 3. Its president, Anurag Thakur, and secretary, Ajay Shirke, have to file a compliance report in the Supreme Court by the deadline. The duo has to appear before the Lodha Committee to explain the manner of compliance. The Supreme Court has fixed the next date of hearing on December 5.
It had ordered that all disbursements of BCCI funds to member State associations should “forthwith cease and desist” till the latter see reason and resolve to fully comply with the Lodha reforms in letter and spirit.
“Any transfer of funds shall take place to the State associations only after compliance is effected,” the Supreme Court had ordered.
Further, the court had directed the Lodha Committee to appoint an independent auditor to scrutinise and audit the income received and expenditure incurred by the BCCI. The auditor shall oversee the Board’s tendering process. The Committee shall also fix a threshold value for award of contracts by the BCCI. Any contracts valued above the threshold limit shall be entered into only after the Lodha Committee’s approval, the court directed.