New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Justice R.M.Lodha committee five more months time to complete its work on suggesting reforms in the administration of Indian cricket body BCCI to make it’s working transparent and free from any conflict of interest.
A bench headed by Justice T.S.Thakur gave five more months time on an application by Justice Lodha Committee seeking time to complete its task of suggesting reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
However, the court declined a plea by Cricket Association of Bihar seeking that the sealed envelope containing the names of 13 players suspected of wrong doings along with the report of investigation by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee into it be given to Justice Lodha Committee, saying it would only do so if such a plea comes from the latter.
The court said that it has to be careful about the image and reputation of the players whose names are mentioned in the sealed cover.
In a clean-up exercise, Justice Lodha Committee also comprising Justices R.V.Ravindran and Justice Ashok Bhan had on July 14 suspended IPL franchisee Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years from the IPL.
The Committee had also slapped a lifelong ban on Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals from the affairs of cricket in the country for their alleged role in the betting.
Justice Lodha Committee was set up by a bench of Justice Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla to decide the quantum of punishment that had to be awarded to Meiyappan, the son-in-law of former BCCI president N. Srinivasan and Royals co-owner Raj Kundra.
The court had also asked Justice Lodha committee to look into the activities of BCCI official Sunder Raman in the entire matter. This issue is still pending as his role is being investigated.
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.
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.
“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,
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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.
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)