Can’t Micro-manage BCCI: Says Supreme Court,To Pass Order On Office Bearers’ Tenure

Written by Sumit Seth

BCCI is an autonomous body and it cannot micro-manage its functioning, observed the Supreme Court on Tuesday. It also asked the apex cricket body of the country the reason behind wanting people above 70 years to represent the nation in the ICC. The remarks by the apex court were made during the hearing on the Board’s plea seeking to amend its constitution concerning the tenure of its office bearers including its president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah by doing away with the mandatory cooling-off period between tenures of office bearers across state cricket associations and the BCCI.

The top court, which said that the cooling off period will not be scrapped between the tenures of office bearers as “the purpose of the cooling off period is that there should be no vested interest,” said it will continue with the hearing Wednesday and pass order.

As per the constitution adopted by the BCCI, an office bearer has to undergo a three-year cooling-off period between two consecutive terms in either the state association or the BCCI or both combined.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for BCCI, told a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, that the game of cricket is substantially streamlined in the country. He submitted that the apex court has said that when the bye-laws will go into functional preparedness, some changes could be made with the leave of the court.

He said that the BCCI is an autonomous body and all the changes have been considered by the AGM of the cricket body. While the submission was being made, the bench said “BCCI is an autonomous body. We cannot micro-manage its functioning.” Mehta said, “As the constitution exists today, there is a cooling off period. If I am an office bearer of the state cricket association for one term and BCCI for another consecutive term, then I have to go for a cooling off period”.

He added that both bodies are different and their rules are also different and two consecutive tenures of the office bearer are too short to develop leadership at the grassroots level.

The Solicitor General said, “Leadership develops at the grassroots level and it remains in the state association. By the time, his time comes for being elevated to the BCCI; he has to go for a mandatory three-year cooling-off period. One cannot become a member of the BCCI if he is not an active member of the state association”.

He said, adding that holding of the post in state association by a BCCI office bearer should not be considered for the cooling-off period.

While submissions were made, Justice Chandrachud cautioned, “We are engaging in discussion and not passing any judgement. Social media thinks that whatever we say in court that’s judgement but that is just a dialogue to elicit a response and better understanding of facts.”

The bench said that so an office bearer of the state association cannot hold a post in BCCI, without undergoing three years cooling-off period as per the existing constitution.

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Sumit Seth