Tuesday May 21, 2019
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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)

Next Story

Guidelines For Filing Conflict Complaints, BCCI Comes Up With Its List Of Ethics And Regulations

It raises some serious concerns with regard to matters of sexual harassment which may have been stalled over and above the limitation period laid down in the act. The only remedy within the organisation in such cases is the Ethics Officer and this procedure would only be prohibitive for the aggrieved women.

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Any complaint sent to any other address shall not be entertained and shall be deemed to have never been received. Pixabay

Even as the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) ignored the proposals of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) office bearers with regards to guidelines for filing conflict complaints, BCCI Ombudsman and Ethics Officer D.K. Jain has independently laid down a procedure similar to the one deliberated by BCCI officials.

In the guidelines, accessed by IANS, Jain has said that it has become absolutely necessary to provide a framework so that genuine issues are not swept under the carpet. This after a recent rise in mails from all and sundry pulling up former cricketers on alleged conflict issues.

“It has been noticed that numerous emails are being received, which contain all kinds of allegations against past and present players, officials, functionaries of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, etc. This often results in delay in the processing of the genuine complaints or some of them, inadvertently, get ignored due to sheer number of emails received by the Office of the Ethics Officer.

“Therefore, it has become absolutely necessary to devise a mechanism to ensure that only genuine complaints are received and ultimately entertained by the Office of the Ethics Officer, BCCI, which shall also ensure that the same get taken up and decided expeditiously and no time is wasted in dealing with frivolous/non-genuine Complaints,” it read.

Speaking to IANS, a senior BCCI official rued how greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman could have been kept away from the recent cases of humiliation had the CoA in the first place accepted their proposal. Under a fix due to complaints against the stalwarts, the CoA has now called the issues of conflict against them as “tractable”. But the players have made it clear that the CoA is to blame for this.

“This should have been the first order of the office. We have always raised these concerns. I remember Ajay Shirke being very vocal about this in 2016 when the BCCI in its SGM had adopted 90 per cent of the Lodha recommendations. Just because this has come from the BCCI, it was looked at something evil. Now the ethics officer has issued the directions to that effect.

“It is about experience and intent. The suggestions and deliberations of the BCCI members was backed with practical experiences that got down to the brass tacks. An exposure to international players and the authority of a dictator can not replace experience. These directions from the ethics officer only underline the importance of experience and the balances approach that he has adopted,” the official said.

Another official though sounded the warning bell bringing to light the issue of alleged complaint of sexual harassment against CEO Rahul Johri.

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“When you have a scenario where even the report of the independent committee has not been made available to the aggrieved women, there is no way that they can even source the information that they wish to complain about,” the official pointed. Pixabay

“It raises some serious concerns with regard to matters of sexual harassment which may have been stalled over and above the limitation period laid down in the act. The only remedy within the organisation in such cases is the Ethics Officer and this procedure would only be prohibitive for the aggrieved women.

“When you have a scenario where even the report of the independent committee has not been made available to the aggrieved women, there is no way that they can even source the information that they wish to complain about,” the official pointed.

The guidelines that need to be followed to file a complaint with the ethics officer are:

1. Mode of filing:

a. Every Complaint before the Ethics Officer, BCCI shall be filed in physical form, comprising of 2 hard copies (first being the Original and the second being the photocopy thereof).

b. Such complaints shall be sent, either by post or by hand, to:

The Office of the Ethics Officer,

The Board of Control for Cricket in India Cricket Centre,

Wankhede Stadium, D-Road, Churchgate, Mumbai- 400 020

Any complaint sent to any other address shall not be entertained and shall be deemed to have never been received.

c. In addition to the above, a scanned copy of the complaint shall be sent to the office of the Ethics Officer at the email ID: ethics.officer@bcci.tv.

d. Complaints filed, only by way of an email or by way of whatsapp/sms or such like other electronic modes of communication, without first filing the hard copies thereof in terms of paragraph 1(a) above, or the personal email of either the Ethics Officer, BCCI or any of the officials of the BCCI shall not be entertained.

2. Necessary particulars

Every Complaint filed with the Office of the Ethics Officer, BCCI shall mandatorily contain the following details of the Complainant:

a. Full Name

b. Father’s/Husband’s/Mother’s Name

c. Age

d. Complete postal address along with pin code

e. Mobile No.

f. Email id

g. Telephone (Landline) No.

h. Identity and the address Proof of the Complainant (any one- Aadhaar Card, Driving License, Passport or Voter id)

The Complaint shall also contain the following details of the person complained against:

a. Full Name

b. Complete postal address along with pin code

c. Mobile No.

d. Email id

e. Telephone (Landline) No.

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It has been noticed that numerous emails are being received, which contain all kinds of allegations against past and present players, officials, functionaries of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Pixabay

3. Source of Information and authentication

a. Every complaint must indicate the source of information and/or exact conflict of interest if any alleged, as prescribed in the rules and regulations.

b. Such Complaint filed with the Office of the Ethics Officer, BCCI must be supported by an Affidavit, duly attested/notarized by Oath Commissioner/ Notary Public.

4. Consequence of non-compliance of the practice directions

Any Complaint filed without complying with the practice directions, shall be liable to be rejected summarily, without going into its merits.

5. Applicability of practice directions

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The complaints already filed by way of emails, in which, cognizance has so far not been taken, shall also be processed only after these practice directions are fully complied with.

Sadly, in case of the conflict complaints raised against the trio of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman, this process wasn’t followed and the first three former cricketers who took the plunge into BCCI administration under the CoA are now being made to justify their position after serving the nation over the years. (IANS)