The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked state cricket associations and office bearers of the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) to give their suggestions on the draft constitution for the apex cricket body, to be approved by it. The Board and the court appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) meanwhile informed a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that Bihar, which has been out of competitive cricket for almost two decades, can start playing national level championships, including Ranji trophy matches, starting September 2018.
The bench also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said the draft constitution would be approved by the court and that this would be binding on the BCCI. It directed the various state cricket bodies and BCCI officials to give their suggestions, if any, on the draft constitution to Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam who is the amicus curiae in the matter before May 11, when it will hear the matter next.
The court hinted that it may also have a relook at the one-state, one-vote recommendation of the Justice R M Lodha panel which had led to loss of membership of voting rights to bodies like Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), Cricket Club of India (CCI), Vidarbha Cricket Association, Baroda Cricket Association and Saurashtra Cricket Association.
The proposal which was accepted by the SC said a state would have only one cricket association, having full time membership and voting rights in the BCCI.
The bench, however, said that there was no need to review the policy vis-a-vis north-east but the case of states like Maharashtra and Gujarat may be different.
Maharashtra to postpone polls
With the BCCI constitution pending final approval of the court, the bench also asked the Maharashtra Cricket Association to postpone its election scheduled for Wednesday as the states may also have to rejig their rules in tune with the changes in the BCCI constitution. The COA had in October last year filed a draft constitution of the BCCI incorporating suggestions of the Justice RM Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body.
The top court had said the draft constitution should include the suggestions of the Justice RM Lodha committee in its entirety so that a holistic document can be placed before it for a final decision.
It had approved the Lodha panel’s recommendations like ‘one state, one vote’, ‘one member, one post’ and fixing a 70-year age-cap on those occupying BCCI posts. The court also disposed off a contempt petition filed by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after these bodies submitted that the state will be able to play all matches from September this year. Subramaniam also backed this.
CAB had moved the court on April 20 seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against certain BCCI officials alleging tht they had violated the apex court’s January 4 order by which it said the court had allowed Bihar to participate in Ranji Trophy and other national championships.
It said BCCI had neither invited any cricket association from the state to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, nor allowed them to participate in the tournament held in February.
Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, representing the CAB, said Bihar, the third most populous state of the country, was deprived of its rights for last 18 years, which had started after the divison of the state and some cricket administrators played a key role in it.
After the formation of Jharkhand in 2000, a dispute had arisen in the cricket administration of Bihar and two separate cricket associations were formed for the two states.