Officials’ Tenure: BCCI’s Most Contested Lodha-Recommended Reform
4 January 2016 marked the beginning of what was expected to be the end of the ‘old BCCI’. Following a year of meeting and analysis of the board’s decades-long working mechanism, the Lodha Committee submitted their report with a host of recommendations on changes to be made to the functionings of the BCCI.
Almost four years later, the board and its state units finally managed to implement all changes and was allowed, by the Supreme Court, to elect a new President – Sourav Ganguly.
Just over one month into his tenure, Ganguly’s BCCI has now voted to veto all the changes that were recommended by Justice Lodha and his committee.
In short, that’s the full circle the BCCI has travelled since the Supreme Court took it upon itself to streamline the workings of the richest cricket body in the world.
So what are the contentious points? What is it that the Ganguly-led BCCI want to undo? What does this BCCI understand better about the board’s operations than the Supreme Court?
Duration of Tenure – The Original Recommendation
The first appearance of this concern in the the Justice Lodha Committe’s report is on page 26 under the header ‘Unlimited terms and tenures’.
The report states, "Many individuals occupy various posts in the BCCI for multiple terms and on multiple occasions, without any ceiling limit. There has even been an instance of a former President later becoming the Treasurer."
Thus, to ensure that ‘the posts are not treated as permanent positions of power’, the Committee recommended the following:
- That one term of an Indian cricket official should last just 3 years.
- An individual is allowed to be a part of the BCCI’s Apex Council for a total of nine years, regardless of the capacity in which the position was occupied. After the 9 years, the individual must exit the BCCI in all capacity.
- No member be allowed to be part of the Apex Council for two consecutive terms.
Supreme Court’s Relaxed Directive
Following 2 years of back and forth (and the suspension of BCCI President Anurag Thakur) the Supreme Court finally relented on some of the Lodha reforms. On 9 August 2018, a bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra made the following relaxations:
- Instead of the ‘cooling off period’ of 3 years kicking in after a 3-year tenure, the court said any official will need to step away from their duties after working for a total of six years.
- The six years however comprised two consecutive terms either in a state association or in the BCCI or in a combination of both.
Now, What Ganguly’s BCCI Wants
Sourav Ganguly came in as the BCCI President in October 2019. However, according to the Lodha recommendations that are now part of the BCCI Constitution, he will have to resign next year and go into a mandatory ‘cooling off period’ of 3 years since he had served as the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal since 2015.
This also applies to BCCI Secretary Jay Shah as well with both men serving out a total of 6 years at their respective state associations and the BCCI by mid 2020.
Thus, with Ganguly as the poster boy of the revolt (and reason) against this reform, the BCCI’s members voted on 1 December at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to seek the Supreme Court’s permission to dilute what the court had been urging the board to implement for the last 4 years.
"At the end of the day, the court will decide," Ganguly said following the AGM vote.
So what’s the BCCI’s latest version of the rule that the board finds acceptable? Here’s what was proposed by board secretary Jay Shah and voted upon:
- The ‘cooling off period’ should kick in only once an official has served two terms (of 3 years each) at either the board or at a state association separately. Meaning, instead of the earlier-approved cumulative six years at a state association and the BCCI, the board now wants an executive’s services to be counted from the time they either start at the state body or the BCCI.
- According to the email sent by Jay Shah with the proposed BCCI amendments, this changed rule should in fact also only apply to the President and Secretary. “To incur the restriction of cooling off 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 and Secretary,” says the email.
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