Sourav Ganguly is now the boss of Indian cricket. As much as that development ignited much celebration across the supporters of the sport in the country, the new board’s agenda for their first Annual General Meeting, on 1 December, looks more like it’s going to be focussed on undoing a lot of the work put in by the Supreme Court, the Lodha Commitee and the CoA over the last 7 years.
On 9 November, Jay Shah, the new BCCI secretary and Amit Shah’s son, sent out a notice for the 88th AGM of the board, listing out a 12-point agenda, which also mentioned six proposed changes to the BCCI constitution; and if you look through the proposed changes, most of them look like they’re being suggested so as to allow the re-entry of the BCCI’s old guard into the picture – like N Srinivasan and Rajiv Shukla.
There’s also the mention of eliminating the need to get any changes in the constitution approved by the Supreme Court. This, being the same constitution that was finalised last year by the CoA upon the approval of the Supreme Court following at least half-a-decade of work put in by the different independent committees and also the apex court itself.
So then that’s pretty much a full circle, right?
The following are the major points on the agenda for the AGM on Sunday:
Ruling Out SC’s Hand
The first pointer relates to the need to approach the SC for approval for every change made, which the officials feel is not feasible.
"The final constitution of the BCCI contains a requirement that any amendment to the constitution needs to be approved by the Supreme Court. This was not part of Justice Lodha Committee reforms. This did not form part of the principal judgement of the Supreme Court dated July 18, 2016. By this provision, the members' autonomy and the right to seek legitimate changes would everytime have to be approved by the Supreme Court. This is not practical," it reads.
The proposed rule reads: "These Rules and Regulations of the BCCI shall not be repealed, added to, amended or altered except when passed and adopted by a 3/4th majority of the members present and entitled to vote at a Special General Meeting of the General Body convened for the purpose or at the Annual General Meeting."
The ‘Cooling Off Period’
The second point is with regard to the cooling off period and its implications.
"The cooling off period applied finally in the BCCI Rules takes into account whether a person has held a post for 6 years in both the member association and the BCCI. This restriction is proving to be a big blow to selecting talented and experienced hands.
"This also affects the continuity of the individual's ability to serve in administration unnecessarily. Hence, cooling off can be restricted to BCCI and the member state, respectively. Further, the term office bearer includes Treasurer, Joint Secretary and Vice President.
"Persons holding these positions in BCCI can serve only for two terms and incur the restriction of cooling off which is again going to prove to be onerous since experienced persons serving in such capacities would prefer to serve out the remaining term of three years in BCCI rather than wait three years and offer themselves for positions which are not as important as the President or Secretary," the explanation of the existing rule reads.
The proposed rule reads: "A President or Secretary, who has served in such position for two consecutive terms in the BCCI, shall not be eligible to contest any further election without completing a cooling off period of three years.
"During the cooling off period, such 'office bearer' shall not be a member of the Governing Council or of any committee whatsoever of the BCCI. The expression 'President' or 'Secretary' should not be permitted to be circumvented by being a member of any other committee or of the Governing Council in BCCI, as the case may be."
The third point relates to disqualification of members. The officials feel that in the current scenario, lack of experience will be a huge issue, especially in representing the BCCI in the International Cricket Council (ICC).
"Disqualifications are too wide. If persons without sufficient experience are made to represent India's interests in the ICC, there will be no recognition for India's contribution to cricket at the international stage.
"In order to protect the interests of the BCCI, which are being steadily eroded at ICC, people with the experience of negotiation and personal interaction with other member nations should be made the representatives. Also, there is no reason to impose restrictions on members of the IPL Governing Council, which is only a committee of the BCCI.
"It will be increasingly difficult to find able hands to guide and nurture the interests of IPL which is the most valuable property of BCCI. Holding of a public office is too wide a definition that is different from being a government servant or a minister.
"Holding of a position in any other sports body would prevent persons genuinely interested and successful in sport administration to be kept out. Further, framing of charges in a criminal case against a person as a disqualification of that person is even more stringent a provision than that found in The Representation of the People Act 1950.
"The harsh nature of these disqualifications have been addressed in the proposed rules by splitting the disqualifications between those applicable to Office Bearers, Apex Council members on the one hand and those applicable to IPL and any Committee of BCCI."
The proposed change reads: "A person shall be disqualified from being an office bearer, or an Apex Council member of the BCCI if he or she: (a) Is not a citizen of India (b) Has attained the age of 70 years (c) Is declared to be insolvent, or of unsound mind (d) Is a minister or government servant (e) Has been an office bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years (f) Has been convicted by a court of law for commission of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than three (3) years
"A person shall be disqualified from being a member of the Governing Council or any committee of the BCCI if he or she: (a) Is not a citizen of India (b) Is declared to be insolvent, or of unsound mind (c) Is a minister or government servant (d) Has been convicted by a court of law for commission of a criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than three (3) years."
More Powers to Secretary(Jay Shah)
The next point relates to the position of the Secretary. The office bearers feel that currently the position of the Secretary needs a re-look.
"The powers of the Secretary have been curbed to the extent that the post is reduced to a mere minor functionary as against the powers vested in the paid executives. The elected representative should be allowed more responsibility. It is proposed that the post be returned all its powers, including over the CEO. A new sub rule (e) is proposed along with a modification to sub rule (f) the apex council must act through the secretary and not the CEO," the mail reads.
Less Responsibility to CEO
Finally, the new office bearers feel that the daily administration has been handed to the CEO and powers should be returned to the office bearers.
"The day-to-day management of the BCCI shall be conducted by the professionals in both cricketing and non-cricketing matters under direct supervision, direction and control of the respective office bearers," says the proposal.