The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the much-awaited hearing pertaining to the Lodha Committee reforms till next week, leaving the immediate future of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul hanging in balance. The two cricketers have been suspended by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) pending an internal inquiry, but Vinod Rai and Diana Eduli — the CoA members — have been sparring over the method and means of inquest for a while.
India's limited-overs' tour to New Zealand starts on 23 January with the One-Day Internationals (ODI) series, but SC's postponement means that the under-fire duo may miss the flight to Napier, venue of the first ODI.
Thursday's hearing of the petition — filed by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB)— was expected to address an expansive gamut of issues, ranging from the appointment of an Ombudsman to spelling out a timeline for BCCI elections. The court, though, said it would proceed with the case only after the appointment of an amicus curiae to replace Gopal Subramanium, who left that post recently.
The apex court's two-judge bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre adjourned the hearing after Subramanium, the amicus curiae in the case for the past few years, decided to resign. The court has nominated PS Narsimha, senior advocate in the court, to replace Subramanium and said it would hear the matter if and when Narsimha accepted the role.
Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for the CoA, said that the court should direct appointment of ombudsman in the BCCI urgently as the fate of two young promising cricketers needs to be decided immediately.
In its plea, the CoA has petitioned the court to bar voting rights of non-compliant states and finalise a timeline for BCCI to conduct elections within a set timeframe. The court approved the Lodha Committee reforms on 18 July, 2016, and despite its clear instructions and ammendments in certain suggestions at the behest of some state units, neither the BCCI, nor a state association has implemented the reforms in toto.
The CoA has recommended that the BCCI conduct elections within 90 days from the court's ruling and has requested, in its status report filed on 27 October last year, that the court approve a timeline for elections. The BCCI, meanwhile, continues to be a headless institution. To conduct an election, the board first needs to comply with the new Constitution – registered in August – which in turn means an unconditional acceptance of all reforms. However, not one of the 34 member associations of BCCI accepted the SC-approved recommendations of Justice Lodha-led panel.
The CoA has identified seven states as being "non-compliant", while the rest fell under the "partially compliant" and "substantially compliant" categories.