Cracking the whip on a “defiant BCCI” for not implementing the Justice R M Lodha Committee directions, Supreme Court on Friday restrained the cash-rich cricket body from disbursing funds to state bodies any further till they filed affidavits promising to abide by the panel’s recommendations on reforms in “letter and spirit”.
The apex court, which warned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from “precipitating” the issue, also directed its President Anurag Thakur to explain by filing “personal affidavit”, the allegation that he had asked the ICC in a communication to say that implementation of the apex court-ordered reforms would amount to govermental interference and lead to BCCI’s disqualification from international cricket.
Long-standing cricket administrator Ratnakar Shetty, currently BCCI’s General Manager (cricket operation), was also directed by the top court to come clear by placing on affidavit copies of the document and BCCI resolution that authorised him to file affidavits on its behalf before the Lodha panel, which had passed a slew of directions for massive restructuring of cricket bodies in the country.
Shetty was asked to file a personal affidavit enclosing the resolution which authorised him to make statements relating to the response made in pursuance to Lodha Committee report.
Both Thakur and Shetty have been directed by the apex court to file separate affidavits within 10 days before the matter is taken up for further hearing on October 17.
In a short interim order which allayed all apprehensions about any hindrance to the domestic criketing season, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also directed the 12 state associations to freeze the amounts received by them from BCCI through the September 30 Special General Body Meeting till they agreed to the reform measures. It also made it clear that the amount of Rs 16.72 crore each disbursed to 13 state cricket associations should not be spent till they filed affidavits and resolutions before the Lodha panel and the apex court that they would implement the directions in letter and spirit for reforms.
It warned those state cricket associations, which have received the funds but failed to adopt a resolution and undertaking under affidavit before the Lodha Panel and the apex court to abide by directions for reforms, that they would be forbidden from spending the funds which should be kept in fixed deposits.
The interim order was passed in a jam-packed courtroom by the bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. It said “no further amount shall be disbursed in terms of the November 9, 2015 resolution (of BCCI) to state associations except those state associations passing a resolution to be agreeable to undertake reforms in letter and spirit”.
“The resolution along with the affidavit undertaking to abide by the reforms has to be filed before the Lodha committee and also the affidavit has to be filed before this court,” the CJI said while pronouncing the order.
“The balance Rs 16.73 crore have been disbursed to 13 state associations. These 13 state associations shall not appropriate the amount unless they pass a resolution and file their affidavits with Lodha Committee and the Supreme Court that they will abide by the direction for reforms in letter and spirit.”
“If these state associations which have already received Rs 16.73 crore each do not come out with resolutions agreeable to reforms, they would be forbidden to spend the money that would be kept in fixed deposit subject to further order,” the bench said.
After the order was pronounced, BCCI’s counsel Radha Ranagaswamy told the bench that “BCCI was not running away from the reforms. There are some technical impediments”.
At this, the bench said, “We will remove all the technical impediments. You take instructions and file an affidavit. We are hearing the matter on October 17. Do not precipitate matters. Not pleasant for us. Better you file an affidavit”.
Thakur has been asked to file a personal affidavit as the Lodha committee has complained to the apex court that, “He (BCCI President) has also requested the ICC to issue a letter stating that this committee amounts to governmental interference.”
Further, the committee had said that “over the course of the last few weeks, several very objectionable statements have been made by him to the press which undermine this (Supreme) court and this committee”.