SC to hear BCCI’s plea to allow amendment of its constitution next week
India’s money-spinning Cricket body – BCCI – on Friday approached Supreme Court to get more tenure for its President Sourav Ganguly and Secretary Jay Shah by amending the constitution. In a landmark judgment and Justice R M Lodha-led committee had recommended reforms in the BCCI in January 2015 fixed State and BCCI office bearers’ tenure to six years and put a cooling off period of three years for taking up further posts. Now Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly’s six-year tenure has ended and continued in the coveted posts citing Covid and lockdown for more than a year.
Supreme Court intervened in the murky cricket administration after a series of cases and formed Justice R M Lodha’s committee to bring reforms in the game’s administration which is often shared mainly by BJP, Congress, and NCP leaders for the past three decades. Interestingly, the ruling BJP party which always opposes the dynasty in politics, brought Jay Shah, when father Amit Shah resigned from the President post of Gujarat Cricket Association, which was earlier held by then Chief Minister Narendra Modi for a long time. Then all of a sudden novice Jay Shah became BCCI Secretary.
On Friday, the bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Krishna Murari were told by senior advocate P S Patwalia, appearing for the BCCI, that their application was filed two years ago and direction was given by the court to list the matter after two weeks. “But then Covid happened and matter could not be listed. Please list this matter for urgent hearing because amendments to the constitution are in pipeline for two years now”, he said.
Patwalia said the earlier order of the court says that amendment to the constitution can only be done with the prior permission of the court. The bench said it will see that the matter is listed for next week. In January 2015, the Justice R M Lodha-led committee recommended reforms in the BCCI which have been accepted by the top court. According to the recommendations, there should be a three-year cooling-off period for the office bearers of the BCCI after a tenure of six years once a post comes to an end at the state cricket association or at the BCCI level.
The BCCI, in its proposed amendment, has sought the abolition of the cooling-off period for its office bearers which would enable BCCI president Ganguly and secretary Shah to continue in office despite them having completed six years at respective state cricket associations. The constitution of BCCI, which has been approved by the top court stipulates, a mandatory three-year cooling-off period for anyone who had served two consecutive terms of three years each in the state cricket association or in BCCI. As per current norms, Sourav Ganguly’s tenure ended in 2020 as he became President of the Bengal Cricket Association in 2014. Jay Shah’s tenure ended in 2019 as he became President of the Gujarat Cricket Association in 2013.
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