Cricket

Cooling off clause mountain of snow, BCCI was waiting for weather to change: Justice RM Lodha reacts to SC’s decision

The latest Supreme Court order gives cricket administrators, including Ganguly and Shah, an unbroken combined stint of 12 years in state units and the BCCI.

Cooling off clause mountain of snow, BCCI was waiting for weather to change: Justice RM Lodha reacts to SC’s decision

File image of Justice RM Lodha. Image: AFP

Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to amend its constitution relating to the cooling-off period for the president, secretary among other office-bearers.

This amendment may enable board President Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah to have longer tenures in BCCI as they can now continue in their respective roles until 2025.

Ganguly and Shah had already served one term each at the state and BCCI level and would have been disqualified under the existing rule. However, they can now serve an additional term at the BCCI.

Earlier in 2016, the Justice R M Lodha-led committee had recommended reforms in the BCCI which were accepted by the top court. The committee was formed after the Justice Mudgal Committee report recommended reforms in the cricket body following the 2013 IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal.

The reforms included a cooling-off period of three years for a board official after having served a fixed term of three years. However, BCCI continued to oppose the clause which was then modified in 2018 to make it a total of six years that included a term in the state association.

Meanwhile, reacting to the latest judgment, former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha said that the contentious cooling-off clause in the BCCI constitution can be termed as “snow mountain” that cricket administrators navigate by “waiting for the weather to change”.

“For cricket administrators, the cooling-off clause was like a snow mountain, which they find very difficult to navigate, so they just wait for the weather to change. This is how it has been happening since 2016, 2018, and now 2022,” Justice Lodha told The Indian Express.

He added, “Maybe it’s evolution of new jurisprudence. Certain orders remain final and with others…maybe the court thought continuity of office-bearers was important. There must have been some good reasons which convinced the court to change its previous orders.”

However, Lodha said: “If you want to apply the element of continuity, why even 12 years? If continuity is paramount and it overrides everything then why fix cooling-off at all. Why 6, 9 or 12 years….”

Lodha also revealed why his committee wanted cricket officials to take a break after every three-year term.

“Our idea of a cooling-off period was based on two facets — it would stop the creation of a monopoly and it would bring new blood into the administration. Cooling-off is a very important limb of the governance structure to eradicate the formation of a monopoly. If you give a long tenure, it is bound to create a monopoly in favour of a few individuals. It is founded on a well-accepted principle of governance in almost all fields, and sports is one of them.”

Updated Date: September 15, 2022 11:54:00 IST

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