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Cricket board caught in a cleft stick as DDCA rejects Lodha commitee recomendations

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New Delhi: BCCI is divided as The Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) rejects the recommendations of the Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee on fair governance and accountability.DDCA thus becomes the only unit affiliated to the Indian cricket board to have rejected almost all the recommendations.

It was only expected of the DDCA to reject the recommendations lock stock and barrel when others state units have problems with certain portions of the comprehensive report prepared at the Supreme Court’s will.

The DDCA has the temerity to say that so long as its directors- it is registered under Companies Act- do not feel that there is any justification to change the system for the sake of uniformity, it will remain as it is. Thus, it also wants to continue with the obnoxious proxy voting system.

The Delhi association has a problem with every clause and does not want to change as it has perfected the art of circumventing the existing laws/rules/regulations over the years.

The apex court did not stop at accepting the committee’s report suggesting structural reforms in the functioning of the board in a clean transparent manner. It is firm on its implementation.

Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla gave little room for the board to vacillate in implementing the recommendations without any reservations, saying since the committee held extensive deliberations with all stakeholders there should be no difficulty in accepting them.

The cricket board did not say anything immediately and had a long pause before murmurs started from state associations about the practical difficulties they will face in complying with the report.

The court kept the door ajar by asking the board to file its response before the next hearing on March 3. It also said in no uncertain terms that if the board has any problems in implementing the recommendations it will ask the Lodha Committee to ensure the implementation!

After the court has made its intention clear, the board has been left with little scope for any manoeuvre unless the committee agrees to listen to its pleas and tweak some of the recommendations.

Two weeks after the Supreme Court missive, the board called a Special General Meeting (SGM) on Friday but did not take up a clause-by-clause discussion, saying that the state associations sent on their observations and the board have its own.

So the board decided to file an affidavit with its secretary explaining why some of the recommendations are unimplementable and at the same time asked the state units to do likewise on the clauses affecting their functioning.

The board is identifying the people who have fed the committee with some weird inputs and want to impress upon it that most of the people who deposed before it have been at it for a number of years.

The board officials may name some lawyers, former players and event management companies who they feel have a grouse against the board and used the opportunity to settle scores.

The board anticipated the turn of events and will now flood the court with a spate of affidavits expressing their points of view over the implementation of the report in toto.

They may cite hurdles in implementing the one-state-one-vote norm, age cap and term of office and a cooling off period between two terms, funding players’ associations and including franchise owners in the Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

However, the board will explain the issues that can crop up in changing its registration and amending its by-laws as it claims it can not dictate to the state units to change their constitutions. That’s the reason the states have been asked to file different affidavits.

Maharashtra, Mumbai and Vidarbha, Saurashtra, Gujarat and Baroda are unwilling to lose their voting rights and so are the Universities, Railways, Services, Cricket Club of India (CCI) and National Cricket Club (NCC).

Removing Services, Railways and Universities will in one stroke take away the government’s influence over the board to a large extent. These three votes invariably tilted the balance in the election. One can understand the CCI remaining as a voting member, but certainly not the NCC.

Mumbai and Saurashtra also do not want to lose their key officials, president Sharad Pawar, 75, and secretary Niranjan Shah, 71, respectively under the 70-year age cap.

Most of the state associations have also expressed reservations about a three-member selection committee saying it is well-nigh impossible for them to cover the entire country with more and more states joining the board. Strangely, this is one of the demands made for ages to remove regional bias.

The court stated that it could keep the Lodha panel alive so that it could help the BCCI overcome difficulties it might face in implementing the recommendations. Justice Lodha might become to the board what Justice Mukul Mudgal is for the DDCA!

Some senior office-bearers of the board are miffed at one-man-one-post norm as they do not want to lose their grip over their state associations which give them the clout to get on the board.

As is the case in this country, someone is already working to circumvent the recommendations just as a loophole in then sports minister Margaret Alva’s government guidelines permitted the czars of Indian sport to retain their control over the federations in some capacity after finishing their term as president/secretary/treasurer. Here, the Lodha Committee is clear that there has to be a cooling off period after one term in any capacity.

It will not be easy for the board and its affiliates to convince the Committee to dilute the report, but at the same time, it will find it difficult to implement.

The board is caught in a cleft stick! (Veturi Srivatsa, 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)