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One-state, one-vote in BCCI will lead to much politics: SC told

The Supreme Court was on Monday told that the Justice R M Lodha committee’s recommendation for one- state, one-vote in BCCI would lead to “enormous politics” and pressure within the system of the apex cricket body.

The submission made by Baroda Cricket Association to this effect prompted a bench, comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice F M I Kalifulla, to ask senior advocate Kapil Sibal for more elaboration as to how this recommendation would “generate” more politics in the working of the BCCI. “Can you elaborate what the politics will be,” the bench asked Sibal, who was appearing for Baroda Cricket Association and arguing against the implementation of recommendation for one-state, one-vote in BCCI. “You know everything,” was how the senior advocate responded when the bench, in a lighter vein, said “That is the area in which you also flourish.” 

“Reality is there would be enormous pressure irrespective of who is standing in the elections,” Sibal said. 

The implementation of one-state, one-vote policy has relevance as Maharashtra and Gujarat which have four and three cricket associations respectively as permanent members would be left with only one permanent member each in the BCCI.

The new permanent members will come from smaller and sparingly cricket-playing states like Manipur and Mizoram. Sibal contended that there is no rationale in co-relating cricketing activities, geographical boundaries and population. “We will be generating enormous politics in the system which is prevailing,” he submitted. The bench said with the implementation of Lodha Committee Sibal said Baroda Cricket Association was against the one-state, one-vote policy as by this recommendation, the entire structure and function of BCCI and other state cricket associations was sought to be changed which went against the essence of 19(1)(c) of the Constitution. However, the bench said an association cannot take shelter of fundamental rights as it is not a citizen.

“Have you come as an individual citizen or an association? Association is not a citizen. No rights of citizens have been affected. Whose rights as citizens have been affected,” the bench asked, as Sibal contended that if all recommendations of Lodha Committee would have been a part of legislative act, it would have been struck down.

He commenced his submissions by saying that rights under Article 19(1)(c) - right to form association, right to autonomy, right to remove membership etc - are protected and as long as these rights are not interfered with, there is no problem. “All the rules which apply to BCCI will apply to me also,” he said and asserted that “Parliament can’t pass a law.

It is completely in the state list.” His response was to the court obervation made during the last hearing that public functions of BCCI can be taken over by the government with the enactment of a law in Parliament. The bench on Monday also asked what prevents BCCI from saying if any state association want to be associated with it that respective body has to fall in line with the Lodha Committee recommendations.

Sibal said “that decision has to be taken along with me.” and BCCI is also resisting the recommendation.

Referring to the recommendations, the bench said, “The whole exercise is for holistic purpose. The holistic basis and the background in which the whole exercise was carried was with a view to streamline and remove all shortcomings, malpractices that people perceive about the BCCI.” 

“The issue has to be seen from larger perspective that strucural reform is important and it is held that one-state- one-vote will bring transparency. If you want to reform the system, you have to reform it and that is why recommendations have been made by the Lodha committee,” the bench said. 
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