Names of members of the proposed panel to run the administration of cash-rich BCCI would be decided on January 24 by the Supreme Court, which on Friday gave a ray of hope to some disqualified administrators modifying its earlier order that debarred a person having a cumulative tenure of nine years in any state association and BCCI from holding any position in the apex cricket body.
The apex court, headed by then Chief Justice T S Thakur, on January 2 had said that a person was disqualified from holding any post if he "has been an office bearer of BCCI or a State Association for a cumulative period of 9 years".
A newly-set up bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud on Friday modified the order saying the 9-year tenure of an office bearer in state association or in the BCCI would not be considered cumulatively, giving hope to some administrators who had to demit office on this count.
At the outset, senior advocates Anil Divan and Gopal Subramaniam, who have been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court, submitted nine names in sealed covers for the proposed panel of administrators which will supervise the administration of BCCI through its Chief Executive Officer.
"We may not have the nine member committee. It may be too large. We hope and trust that there are no names which are above 70 (years of age)," the bench said, adding that at present, it was not deciding or dropping any name.
In a fresh twist to the ongoing legal battle in implementing reforms in BCCI, Railways, armed forces and Association of Universities rushed to the court crying foul over issues including downgrading of their BCCI membership from permanent to associate ones and sought recall of the judgement that had given a nod to the suggestions of Justice R M Lodha panel on structural reforms in BCCI administration.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing public bodies which were permanent members to BCCI, said all the three bodies have been "integral constituent" of BCCI and have been promoting cricket and employing cricketers.
"We have not only been downgraded but the rule that no public servant or minister would represent them, are affecting us adversely," he said.
"We have no love for BCCI but larger questions must be addressed and debated by a larger bench. There has been a change in the electoral college. How could the court downgrade our full membership in BCCI without even issuing notice to us," he said and cited a judgement in the A R Antulay case in which the court had revisited its earlier verdict.
BCCI officials welcome verdict, lifeline for lot of them
The Supreme Court verdict which stated that persons who have a cumulative tenure of 18 years in the BCCI and state units are eligible to be elected as office bearers subject to a cooling off period was welcomed by several senior officials including those, whose administrative careers got a lease of life.
While some of the veterans like Niranjan Shah are happy even though it won't make much of a difference for them, the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar welcomed the move as it gives him an opportunity to be in the BCCI once he is through with his cooling off period.
For TNCA veteran Kashi Viswanathan, his administrative career in cricket is "over" but former India team manager Biswarup Dey is "happy" as he has some breathing space.
The three-member Supreme Court bench on Friday said that the July 18 order of the Apex Court based on the Lodha Committee suggestion about the cumulative period will be 18 years (9 yrs in BCCI + 9 yrs in state association).
"Obviously, the rectification of the cumulative period to earlier 18 years is a welcome move. The BCCI has never opposed to the Lodha reforms. We only had issues regarding age cap of 70 years, one state one vote and the cooling off period. How can you give Nagaland voting right and not have 41-time Ranji champions Mumbai as a voter," Saurashtra veteran Shah said even though his career in BCCI is over.
Former India stalwart Vengsarkar, who will have to go into a 'cooling off' period, is happy that at least he might get a chance to become an office-bearer in BCCI in future.
"Former cricketers can do a lot for cricket administration with their years of experience. I welcome this move. Whether I can be an office bearer in BCCI in future does not depend on me but I am always available to serve Indian cricket," said Vengsarkar. However, former TNCA secretary Kashi Viswanathan said that it does not matter to him as he is not going to come to BCCI ever.