The Supreme Court of India has come down heavily on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), slamming the body for not following directives issued by the Lodha Committee, and adding that the court "knew how to get its orders implemented".
The apex court's comments come after the Justice RM Lodha-led panel submitted a status report on Wednesday, on the implementation of its recommendations by the administrators of Indian cricket.
In its report, the committee said that the board was stalling reforms at every stage, and recommended strict action against the BCCI's top brass, including president Anurag Thakur, for breaching court orders.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, who heads the Supreme Court bench that appointed the Lodha committee, has reportedly given the BCCI until 6 October to furnish reasons for their non-compliance.
"BCCI thinks it is a law unto itself. We know how to get our orders implemented. BCCI thinks it is the lord. You (BCCI) better fall in line or we will make you fall in line. The conduct of the BCCI is in poor taste," Justice Thakur was quoted as saying after the submission of the Lodha report.
The counsel appearing for the panel said BCCI is not replying to emails and other communications sent to them and repeatedly defying the orders of the court.
According to reports, it was BCCI's decision to discuss matters pertaining to the upcoming year — without fully implementing the Lodha reforms — in its Annual General Meeting (AGM) that served as the final straw for the panel, shortly after which it decided to submit its status report.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar appearing for BCCI said they have complied with most of the directions and would gradually comply with the rest.
To this, the bench said, "The law needs not to be defied. We are not happy about things going on. We anticipated this approach from BCCI but this is not done. You will have to fall in line with the directions of the court."
The Cricket Association of Bihar also approached the apex court and said the review petition pending before it should be taken up urgently.
They said the review petition filed by the BCCI is still in defects with the registry and they are not pursuing it to be taken up for hearing.
The Lodha committee's reforms were passed by the Supreme Court on 18 July, including recommendations such as an age limit on its members as well as a bar on civil servants and ministers. The court had initially given the board six months to implement the reforms.
Former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri had hit out against the panel's recommendations, terming them "too harsh", especially the 'one-state-one-vote' order, as well as the three-year cooling off period for administrators.
With inputs from PTI