CoA asks court to conduct fresh BCCI elections

BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary speaks to the media PTI

Even as the Supreme Court deliberates on the new BCCI constitution, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has urged it to conduct fresh elections immediately so that administrators who are "consciously guilty of non-compliance" will not "benefit" by continuing in their posts. The CoA also said that, under the BCCI's existing rules, the terms of the current set of three office bearers ended on March 1, so they should be replaced with immediate effect.

Late last year the CoA submitted a final draft of the new BCCI constitution in court, in which it supported all the Lodha Committee's recommendations while further recommending that the powers of two key office bearers in the BCCI - the secretary and the treasurer - be clipped.

The court has not conducted any significant hearing in the case now for a few months, but it is understood that a newly constituted bench could resume hearing the case in late March. As per the board's existing constitution, the call for an annual general meeting (AGM), during which the elections are held, is given by the BCCI president. However, with the BCCI office bearers and majority of the board members and state associations against adopting the Lodha Committee's recommendations, the board's AGM has not taken place since 2016.

Consequently, the annual account books have not been closed for two years now. As a remedy, the CoA now wants the court to direct the BCCI to conduct the AGM and elections in accordance with the rules laid out by the Lodha Committee that were approved by the court on July 18, 2016. "It would be in the fitness of things if this Hon'ble Court directs that elections may be conducted in terms of the recommendations of the Hon'ble Justice Lodha Committee even as this Hon'ble Court continues to consider the New BCCI Constitution," the COA said in its seventh status report, which was submitted in the court this week.

The BCCI's current set of office bearers, led by acting president CK Khanna and including Amitabh Choudhary (acting secretary) and Anirudh Chaudhry (treasurer), has previously filed individual objections against adopting the Lodha recommendations. In its fifth status report, the CoA was critical of the trio and asked the court to remove all three for failing to comply with the court's verdict despite giving a written undertaking to implement the reforms last January.

Khanna, Choudhary and Chaudhry were part of the set of office bearers appointed as part of the BCCI administration led by the late Jagmohan Dalmiya, who came to power on March 2, 2015. As per the existing BCCI constitution, the tenure of an office bearer spans for three years. Accordingly, the CoA has told the court that their tenures ended on March 1 this year.

"These interim directions are necessarily required so that the persons who are consciously guilty of non-compliance of the recommendations passed by the Hon'ble Justice Lodha Committee, as well as the orders passed by this Hon'ble Court, are disabled from benefiting from their conscious non-compliance and, in particular, do not get the benefit of an extended tenure because of such non-compliance," the CoA said in the latest status report.

On May 22, 2016, the BCCI conducted its last elections, but that was an interim measure, necessitated by Dalmiya's death. The last proper BCCI AGM was on September 21, 2016. The CoA has pointed out that all the sub-committees of the BCCI, including the IPL Governing Council, have got an extended tenure in the absence of any fresh elections. The CoA has asked the court to either appoint an electoral officer or authorise it to appoint one to oversee the elections and the eligibility of the administrators contesting various positions, as well the eligibility of members who will cast votes.