- The Vinod Rai-headed CoA has issued a fresh list of directions to the BCCI
- This directive comes in the light of Supreme Court’s final judgement delivered on August 9
When the Supreme Court waded into India’s cricket administration to evaluate how the game is being run in the country and cleanse it of its ever so apparent malaises, there was genuine hope that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would fall into line and would ultimately become much more transparent in its functioning.
A four-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) was formed in January 2017 and instructed by the apex court to specifically oversee the implementation of changes advised by Justice Lodha in his report. Former CAG of India Vinod Rai was appointed as the head of CoA and things were looking up.
What has actually transpired over the course of last year or so has resulted in frequent tussles between the committee and incumbent BCCI officials. The CoA has well and truly morphed into an alternate power centre in Indian cricket as no decisions can be taken and implemented without their express permission.
Vinod Rai to continue as CoA head even after turning 70?
One of the most highlighted reforms suggested by the Supreme Court was that no official could continue in BCCI administration beyond the age of 70. Vinod Rai, the man heading the CoA, has taken everything step possible to retain power even after his court-mandated stewardship has run its course. In fact, Rai himself recently celebrated his 70th birthday but refuses to step aside.
The latest directive issued by the CoA to BCCI quite clearly states that the body was given the responsibility to manage and run the game of cricket in India while key matters involving reforms, constitution and much else was in court. The Supreme Court of India delivered its final judgment on August 9, and 14 days later, the CoA has also issued a directive of its own based on its interpretation of the ruling.
The CoA’s latest directive to BCCI has several points which can be seen as the body and Rai’s prerogative to stay in power and continue to exercise control over the board’s functioning.
Take this for example:
Point number 1 in the list of directions states: “All affairs of the BCCI shall be conducted in accordance with the New Constitution and the judgments and orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Any function to be performed by the Apex Council and/or the Governing Council under the New Constitution shall be performed by the Committee of Administrators until a new Apex Council and Governing Council are elected.”
The CoA holds the power to oversee the appointment of these councils, and till such time as they see fit, they can remain in charge.
Point 3 is this: “Any powers exercisable by any office bearer will henceforth be only as mandated under the New Constitution and shall be exercised only with the prior approval of the Committee of Administrators. The office bearers and/or their respective Executive Assistants as well as the employees of BCCI shall not undertake any travel outside India at BCCI expense without the prior approval of the Committee of Administrators.”
At this time it might be sensible to abbreviate BCCI office bearer to simply bearer as if office bearers of the BCCI are beholden to the CoA at every step, what is the point of having a BCCI president?
Here’s the final nail in the coffin:
Point number 8 read: “BCCI shall no longer bear the expenses of any legal advisor/ consultant who is taking instructions from and/or reporting to any office bearer. Any such existing appointment/ engagement shall be terminated.”
Which means that this latest interpretation of the verdicts of the court, over the last few years, may not be challenged by anyone in the BCCI. At the very least, no legal fees may be paid to anyone attempting to question something that has been in the courts for years.
When originally appointed by the apex court, the CoA was mandated to successfully oversee the implementation of reforms, which was later extended to manage the BCCI’s administration, only for an interim period of time though.
Rai and his team remain in power and it looks on the outside that they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It needs to be repeated here that the head of CoA, man responsible for putting the reforms in place, is over 70 years of age now and is showing no signs of relinquishing power in the BCCI.
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