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BCCI may appeal to Supreme court over Lodha panel recommendations

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By Veturi Srivatsa

At the Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will have to find a via media to implement the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee to streamline its administration when most affiliates have serious reservations about them.

In the light of the Supreme Court’s clear warning that the board should fall in line as there is no second innings for it, there is little scope for any large-scale changes in what the Lodha panel has recommended.

There could be some minor tinkering here and there when the board goes in appeal to the Supreme Court with its objections. Don’t forget, the panel has finalized the recommendations after talking to all stakeholders.

The affiliated units are finding it difficult because quite a few of them are family concerns, sons and sons-in law in line of succession.

If the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), headed by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, rejected half the steps suggest by the committee, the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) predictably is seeing them through the prism of its own dysfunctionality.

Then, the state associations in the West Zone have their fears about losing their voting rights and with it their cumulative strength and their individual identity.

The idea of recommending a uniform constitution is to avoid the anomalies, but the DDCA wants to protect its turf by continuing under the Company law Board while most others, including the board, come under the Registrar of Societies Act.

The officials are also displeased with limiting the tenure of the board’s office-bearers, fixing a 70-year age-limit, one state-one vote and bar on ministers and government officials from becoming key officials.

The board might use the plea that it is difficult to govern a vast country like India with a truncated working committee and also with a three-man selection committee.

The board should not have any objection to the office-bearers each serving a maximum of three terms of nine years, though they may have reservations about the cooling off period between the stints.

President Shashank Manohar may not have qualms about shedding an additional vote and also a say in the team selection since it is not going to seriously affect his functioning, though there have been instances when the president’s casting vote tilted the balance and also saved captains.

There will now be only five elected office-bearers: president, vice president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer but this will be contested by the associations.

The board should have no objection to the inclusion of players’ representatives, including a woman, and a nominee of the Comptroller and Auditor General in the refurbished working committee, henceforth to be called the Apex Council.

For all practical purposes the panel has thrown the zonal system, with one vice-president from each zone, out of the window.

The board has already appointed Justice Ajit Prakash Shah as ombudsman and likewise should have no objection in appointing an ethics officer and an election officer.

The ombudsman is already flooded with bagful of complaints about conflict of interest and in one case involving former India captain Sourav Ganguly the board pleaded ignorance of his dealings.

The conflict of interest clause should be very clear and it should eliminate or minimize the conflict between duty and self-interest just as in the case of parliamentarians. Officials and players should be protected from extraneous influences or executive patronage so that they can function without fear or favour.

Two former Test stars, Dilip Vengsarkar and Chetan Chauhan, have already objected to the clause as they are running private cricket academies are in conflict with their positions in the board and the state associations.

The board seems to be backing its secretary, Anurag Thakur, against whom the complaint is that his own relation and a business partner in a family concern is not seen as a conflict of interest. The ombudsman has asked the complainant to state which law can be applied in Thakur’s case.

The ombudsman has spelt out the areas that constitute conflict of interest – players and officials running academies, sports management companies and apparel manufacturing units.

As a test case, he has asked India player Harbhajan Singh to either terminate his association with a company, which the off-spinner says is headed by his mother, or his position in Indian cricket.

The one-state-one-vote will hit two states – Maharashtra and Gujarat – which have three associations and field three teams each in the Ranji Trophy. Some of them will have to be stripped of their voting rights.

Maharashtra, Mumbai, Vidarbha, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra will make a case on the strength of their long standing in Indian cricket and so will the Cricket Club of India, (CCI) which will be without a vote going by the panel’s recommendation.

The panel has gone a lot further by recommending that Bihar and the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim be made members of the board with voting rights. (Assam and Tripura are already BCCI members.)

The new arrangement will reduce the bargaining strength of the West Zone, which will be reduced drastically, while the voting strength of the East will go up to a dozen – the most from any region. In the recommended states, barring Bihar, there is little cricket activity and board has a system of affiliation.

The SGM will have a long day, with state associations coming armed with legal opinion on contentious issues. Eventually, they will have to accept most of the recommendations, though the Supreme Court will take the final call if they insist on knocking on its door again. (IANS)

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Was the Ban on Sale of Firecrackers in Delhi Successful? Data on Pollution Levels in Delhi Say Otherwise

Despite the much talked about cracker-ban, pollution monitoring stations placed the capital in the ‘red zone’, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality.

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While the ban on crackers imposed by the Supreme Court aimed to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, figures from pollution monitoring system paint an unhealthy picture with amplified levels of air pollution. (Representative image) Pixabay

New Delhi, October 20, 2017: The Supreme Court had on October 9 banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi during Diwali in order to counter the pollution, deteriorating air quality and smog-like conditions that have come to be associated with the festival in recent times.

While a radical change was not expected following the ban on firecrackers, a humble and promising beginning could be witnessed on Diwali with majority areas in Delhi reporting much lesser noise and smoke till 6 PM, compared to previous years.

However, as the festive spirit picked up from 7 PM onwards, the hopes for a pollution-free Diwali got lost behind the growing echo of the crackers.

Pollution Levels on Diwali

Despite the much talked about the ban on firecrackers, pollution monitoring stations placed the capital in the ‘red zone’, indicating ‘very poor’ air quality. According to the stats available, on Diwali day around 7 pm, online indicators showed a rising trend in the volume of cancer-causing ultra-fine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 that are capable of entering the respiratory system and reach the bloodstream.

PM2.5 and PM10 are the extremely fine particulate matter with the digits representing their diameter in micrometers. They are a major component of air pollutants that threaten both, our health and the environment at large.

ALSO READ 10 Quick Facts About Delhi Pollution Problem

However, data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) suggested that the air quality in Delhi on Diwali was better than last year.

On Thursday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) value was 319 which placed the city in the ‘very poor’ category. However, the AQI value on Diwali last year was 431 and the city was placed in the ‘severe’ category.

According to data from SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research), the 24-hour rolling average at around 11 PM was revealed as 154 and 256 micrograms per cubic meter for PM2.5 and PM10 respectively.

According to SAFAR data, pollution levels were expected to soar between 11 PM and 3 AM.

Pollution Levels in the Morning after Diwali

As the night progressed, PM2.5 levels recorded a sharp rise in multiple areas in and around Delhi, with 15 times increase in areas like India Gate

As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM2.5 levels at 6 AM in,

India Gate – 911 microns (Normal level – 60 microns)

RK Puram – 776 microns (13 times more than usual)

Ashoka Vihar – 820 microns (14 times more than normal)

Anand Vihar – 617 microns (10 times more than normal)

A sharp rise was observed in the PM10 levels in the early hours of the morning after Diwali which suggest hazardous pollution levels in Delhi.

As per data from Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), PM10 levels at 6 AM in,

India Gate – 985 microns

RK Puram – 1083 (11 times more than usual)

Anand Vihar – 2402 microns (24 times more than normal. Normal level is considered around 100 microns)

While the ban on firecrackers imposed by the Supreme Court aimed to reduce pollution levels in Delhi, figures from pollution monitoring system paint an unhealthy picture with amplified levels of air pollution.

Official figures from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) are yet to be announced today. However, judging from the data available, it won’t be wrong to say that pollution levels in Delhi have increased post-Diwali.

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Indian Muslim Should Embrace The Triple Talaq Verdict, As It Outlaws the Radical Religious Side

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End of Triple Talaq. IANS

by Frank F. Islam

Sep 21, 2017 (IANS): On August 22, the Supreme Court ruled that triple talaq — the practice which allows a man to divorce his wife instantly by saying the word talaq thrice — is unconstitutional. Predictably, the ruling was denounced by a number of Muslim leaders and organisations. Some interpreted it as an attack on their religion and way of life. Others saw a conspiracy angle in the importance given to an issue.

This perspective is desperate and distorted. This perspective is not only wrong but also wrong-headed, misplaced and misguided.

I applaud this judgement because I strongly believe that Muslim instant divorce is illegal and incorrect in many ways. Instant divorce is deplorable, disgraceful and shameful. In addition, it is demeaning, demonising, disheartening and demoralising to Indian Muslim women.

Most importantly, as one of the judges pointed out, triple talaq is against the basic tenets of the Quran. Recognising this, many Islamic countries, including two of India’s large Muslim neighbours — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have abolished the practice.

In addition, it is unconscionable to think that a man should be allowed to banish a woman to whom he is married — who is also the mother of his child or children, in many cases — by uttering a word three times, with no consequences. Triple talaq is also inherently discriminatory in that only a man has that “right” — a Muslim woman cannot end the marriage in a similar way.

Also Read: One India, One Law: End of Triple Talaq 

Over the years, some Muslim organisations have rationalised triple talaq by arguing that divorce rates within their community are quite low compared to other religious groups. It affects less than a third of a per cent of Muslim women, they argue. This is neither a sound legal nor moral argument. Even if one concedes that instant divorce affects only a minuscule population, injustice should never have legal sanction, regardless of how many people are affected.

The triple talaq ruling, the result of a decades-long campaign by women’s rights groups, was a historic verdict. With the stroke of a pen, the judges made illegal a practice that over the decades has ruined the lives of countless Indian Muslim women.

In the absence of a comprehensive study among Indian Muslim women, it is not known how many of them have been divorced in this manner. A 2013 survey of Muslim women in 10 Indian states by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, an advocacy group that fights for the rights of Indian Muslims, found that triple talaq was the most common mode of divorce among those surveyed.

Of the 4,710 women sampled in the survey, 525 were divorcees. Of them, 404 were victims of triple talaq. More than 80 per cent of them did not receive any compensation at the time of divorce.

Two of the five judges that delivered the triple talaq judgment differed on the constitutionality of practice. The bench was in unanimous agreement, however, in asking the government to enact within six months legislation to govern Muslim marriages and divorces.

India’s justice system has numerous drawbacks. It often takes decades for courts to deliver justice. In this instance, the Supreme Court should be applauded for delivering a correct judgment in a timely manner.

The ball is now in the government’s court. It is up to people’s representatives to come up with policies that will change the lives of Muslim women for the better.

Equitable legislation on Muslim marriages and divorces should be just the starting point. The central and state governments must craft policies that empower women belonging to all castes, creeds and religions. Such policies should focus on educating women, developing their skills and making them part of the work force. Empowerment of this type will allow them to pursue and create their own destiny. It will lead to financial independence. In addition, it will promote the security and stability of women and will build their self-esteem and confidence.

India’s Muslim community should embrace the Supreme Court verdict. They should join together to say: End triple talaq. End triple talaq. End triple talaq. They should leverage the verdict as an opportunity to advocate for and bring about much-needed reforms related to women’s rights. (IANS)

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Chicago West Loop Cricket Association Celebrates the Spirit of Cricket, Organizes the Super-8 Champions Trophy

The Chicago West Loop Cricket Association organized the Super-8 Champions Trophy in the US on August 26 and 27.

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The champions of the tournament, Hyderabad Blues

Chicago, September 12, 2017: 

Cricket may be more than a religion in India but in the USA, Baseball (a modified version of Cricket) has such a firm grip in terms of popularity and commercial roots that Cricket has remained hitherto unknown. However, as people of Indian diaspora are becoming more visible, Cricket naturally follows them.

In the upend area of West Loop of Chicago downtown, Cricket has registered its presence, thanks to some passionate Indian young men. Their efforts led to the formation of Chicago West Loop Cricket Association.

Twelve teams contested in the Super-8 Champions Trophy organized by the Chicago West Loop Cricket Association in the US on August 26 and 27.  The participants in the Tournament included people from all walks of life- from students currently enrolled in graduate studies to physicians and people working in the corporate sector.

The organizing team of the Chicago West Loop Cricket Association (CWLCA) comprised of Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Harsha Hegde, Vivek Sarkar, Hari Nikko. Shree Bharadwaj highlighted that the main objective of the tournament was to bring everybody together and promote the spirit of cricket.

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The organizing committee of Chicago West Loop Cricket Association. Shree Bhardwaj is seen with the Mic.

Friendly, yet competitive matches were played between the twelve teams that had an average of over 9 players each. The competition, excitement for the game and the liveliness and spontaneous actions of the players and supporters alike were also noteworthy throughout the tournament.

ALSO READ EXCLUSIVE: Cricket- A Fair Game or Farce!

The teams were divided into four pools,

  • Group A (Westloop Tigers, International Khiladis, Hyderabad Blues)
  • Group B (Smashers, Chennai Super Kings, Westloop Super Stars)
  • Group C (Chicago Lions, UIC, Vanquishers)
  • Group D (Hyderabad Nawab, Westloop Minno, Excallibur)

One team from each pool made it to the semi-finals.

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The Super-8 Champions Trophy was organised by Chicago West Loop Cricket Association

After completing all the league matches, the final match was played between the Hyderabad Blues and the Hyderabad Nawabs. Cricket is a sport known for its uncertainty and the game became even more decisive as the game changed in every few seconds in the nail biting finale. The final few moments of the Tournament were breathless and extremely exciting as Pradeep Goud from Hyderabad Blues hit 4 sixes and 1 four in the first five balls of the last over to lead his team to victory. He was also declared the Man of the Match.

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The runners up, Hyderabad Nawabs

Notable recognition from the tournament,

  • Man of the Series, Best Batsman and the Best fielder – Nagabhushan Gargeshwari
  • Man of the Match (Final) – Janagam Pradeep Goud
  • Best Bowler of the series – Gopinathan
  • Man of the Season: Dharmender Prabhakar

 

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