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IMPLEMENTATION OF LODHA

COMMITTEE GUIDELINES IN LINE WITH


JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS

Submitted By: *Soumya Shrivastava and *Mohd Arif Sayyed


*IVth year, Students of Alliance University, Bengaluru.

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Abstract

Cricket is one of the most idolized games in India and is undoubtedly one of major revenue
generating sports. The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) is the apex regulatory and governing
body of cricket. The game is mired in controversy and corroded with malfeasance and engraving
nepotism in recent times which casts clouds on its credibility. The 2013 IPL spot fixing and
betting case urged for the appointment of the Lodha Committee. The Lodha Committee seeks to
change the overall functioning of cricket governance by introducing certain democratic reforms.
In this paper, we seek to analyze the applicability of the contested guidelines on the BCCI and
the steps taken by Supreme Court for the implementation of those guidelines to restore faith of
the people in the gentlemen’s game of cricket.

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INTRODUCTION

Cricket is one of the most idolized games in India and is undoubtedly one of major revenue
generating sports. Being a revered game, it attracts the populace and is a unifying factor in the
nation. The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) is the apex regulatory and governing body of
cricket, discharging essential functions which include promotion, regulation, management and
selection. The game is mired in controversy and corroded with malfeasance and engraving
nepotism in recent times which casts clouds on its credibility. The ideological transformation and
influx of monetary surplus ramifies in depreciation of ethical value to the contours of prejudice
and subordination of professional ethics to individual gains. The saddening part is that not only
BCCI but the players are also engrossed in the filthy practices. The evils of spot fixing and
betting have affected the sanctity of the game, sublimating the ethical conduct of the game. The
IPL massacre and malfeasance of BCCI have drawn strict judicial scrutiny. These incidents
tarnished the goodwill and have deeply bothered the aficionados about what goes on in the name
of cricket.

BACKGROUND FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF JUSTICE LODHA COMMITTEE

The 2013 IPL spot fixing and betting case came in limelight after the Delhi Police arrested three
cricketers, Sreeshanth, Ajit Chaddha and Ankeet Chavan on the charges of spot fixing and the
simultaneous arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan and Vindoo Singh by Mumbai Police in connection
with betting and having links with bookies1. The BCCI constituted the probe panel to investigate
in the allegations of spot fixing and betting which ravaged the credibility and reputation of the
game. The BCCI’s probe panel gave a clean chit to Mr. Meiyappan and Mr. Kundra.

The Cricket Association of Bihar challenged the constitution of probe panel by filing writ
petition in the High Court of Bombay praying inter alia for the reconstitution of the probe panel
to investigate and enquire in the allegations of spot fixing in IPL as the accused is the son-in-law
of N.Srinivasan, the President of BCCI. The apex court in BCCI vs Cricket Association of Bihar

1
Cricbuzz, 'IPL spot-fixing saga - Timeline', (July, 2015). Avalaible at http://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-
news/67028/ipl-spot-fixing-saga-timeline

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& Ors2 appointed the Justice Mudgal Committee on 30th July, 2013 in SLP No. 26635/2013
arising out of judgment and order in PIL no. 55/2013 of High Court of Judicature at Bombay to
investigate the role of the accused in the spot fixing allegation. The Mudgal committee found
them liable for the offence of spot fixing which was in violation of IPL operational rules,
regulations, Team Official Rules, Code of Conduct for players and Match officials and Anti-
Corruption Code leading to subsequent disqualification of the respective franchise of Chennai
Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royal (RR) from IPL. The apex court constituted an
independent committee comprising of Justice Lodha to inquire into the institutional framework
of BCCI, to suggest suitable reforms and to award punishment to the accused.

COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE

The committee composed of three members viz, Justice R.M Lodha, Justice Ashok Bhan and
Justice R.V. Raveendran. The committee was commissioned by the apex court in January 2015 3.
The Lodha Committee identified eight distinct heads of concerns which are essential for better
cricket administration and set out questionnaires to all the stakeholders, office bearers, former
cricketers, reputed sports journalist, academicians, lawyers and the most important- the
aficionado and patrons of cricket. The committee questioned every person connected with the
game and compiled a detailed report.

BCCI A STATE: APPLICABILITY OF GUIDELINES TO BCCI

Days after the recommendations of the Lodha committee had been made public; the Board asked
all the state associations to study the report and determine how it affects them individually. The
BCCI conveyed SGM discussing the implication of the recommendations on its working and
expressed reservation on the committee’s recommendations. The court set the deadline for the
BCCI to express their concerns and formal reply to the Lodha committee’s recommendations4.

The Supreme Court ardently strived for the implementation of the guidelines laid down by the
Lodha committee. The apex court is per se monitoring the effective implementation of the

2
BCCI vs. Cricket Association of Bihar, (2016) 10 SCC 231.
3
Report of the Supreme Court Committee On Reforms In Cricket, Volume One – Report & Annexures, Page 2.
4
Nagraj Gollapudi Timeline of the Lodha committee reforms case', (Jan, 2017). Avaliable
at http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/16616908/a-line-bcci-lodha-committee-reforms-case-supreme-court-india

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committee’s guidelines. The court offered aid to the BCCI to advance the process of
implementing the guidelines which was assailed by the BCCI. The BCCI raised several
objections which included claiming that the guidelines of the committee are recommendatory in
nature and that the BCCI is not bound by the same. The BCCI filed a review and curative
petition in the Supreme Court holding that it is not bound by the guidelines of the Lodha
committee unless the court dismisses the review and curative petition. The court took the
cognizance of the defiant and obstructionist attitude of the office bearers of BCCI in their failure
to implement the committee’s guidelines ordering the removal of Anurag Thakur and Ajay
Shirke from BCCI. The court, further held that

“A party to a litigation cannot be heard to say that it would treat the judgement of the court as
not having binding effect unless the review petition or curative petition that it has filed is
dismissed”5.

The directions issued by the court for the overhaul in the functioning of the BCCI and the
conduct of its affair preceded fundamentally on the juristic consideration that BCCI although an
autonomous body nonetheless discharges ‘public functions’ which makes it amenable to the writ
jurisdiction under Article 32 and Article 226 of the constitution. The apex court opined that, “any
organization or entity that has such pervasive control over the game and its affairs and such
power and can make dreams end up in some or come true cannot be said to be undertaking any
private activity”6. In K. Murugon vs Fencing Association of India, Jabalpur, the apex court
conclusively held that, “BCCI is an instrumentality of state that discharges important public
function, demanding higher institutional integrity and needs to be met suitably in the larger
interest of the public”7. The Lodha committee recommended a complete overhaul of cricket in
India from the pinnacle to the grass root level affecting the extant office bearers and the
stakeholders.

5
BCCI vs Cricket Association of Bihar, (2016) 10 SCC 231.
6
Om Prakash Kashiram vs PIO, M/o Youth Affairs and Sports, 2017 SCC Online CIC 734.
7
(1991) 2 SCC 412.

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JUDICIAL IMPLEMENTATION OF JUSTICE LODHA COMMITTEE GUIDELINES

Structure & Constitution

There was no uniformity in the membership of the BCCI. The Board had three different category
of membership which was full member, associate member, and affiliate member. The BCCI had
30 members which included 20 states and one union territory. Ten states and six union territories
remained sans representation while states like Maharashtra and Gujarat had three representations
each8. Members like Cricket Club of India & National Cricket Club, Kolkata were given full
membership even though they did not promote cricket or fielded teams but functioned as
recreational clubs. The Services Sports Control Board, the Railway Sports Promotion Board and
All India Universities were members even though they did not represent any geographical region
nevertheless fielded teams and were full time members. Bihar being the third most populous
state was not a member as well as Tripura was the only member from the seven sisters. Except
for Delhi, none of the union territories were given representation. There were no rules for
disqualification of members. Rajasthan being a full member was disenfranchised.

There existed ad-hoc membership category which had no legal basis. Several state associations
were included in the ‘future member’ category who would be promoted as ‘full member’ in
future. To solve this issue, the committee recommended democratic norm of representation
which is that every state should have equal representation (One State: One Vote). The committee
recommended that the state of Maharashtra and Gujarat shall have rotational membership. While
one club occupies full membership, the other shall remain associate members.

The state of Maharashtra and Gujarat were most affected by recommendation of the committee.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) had filed an I.A. in the matter stating that it is highly
affected by one state one membership policy. The BCCI has appealed before the apex Court
reiterating the historical contribution of these clubs to the promotion of cricket in the regions, to
allow for the reconsideration of the decision of the court stating the same has practical
difficulties in implementation. Even the court appointed Committee of Administrators has

8
Supra 3, page 16

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expressed their concerns regarding the one state one vote policy pressing the apex court for
reconsideration of the policy9.

Setting up of Players’ Associations

The players are most crucial to the game of cricket. The non-existence of players’ association
leaves the players at the mercy of officials of the Board. As every other nation has players’
association, it is fitting that BCCI establishes the players’ association for giving desired
recognition to the players for the betterment of the game. The players including the former ones
are a great asset as they bring in experience. The Lodha committee recommended setting up of
players’ association for which it entrusted the task to the steering committee. The steering
committee shall be composed of the following members-

a. Mr. G.K Pillai, Former Union Home Secretary (Chairperson)

b. Mr. Mohinder Amarnath, Former National Cricketer

c. Ms. Diana Edulji, Former National Cricketer

d. Mr. Anil Kumble, Former National Cricketer

As per the fourth status report filed by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) 10, the Committee
of Administrators inter alia prayed before the apex court for the reconstitution of the steering
committee imminently as Ms Diana Edulji was appointed as the member of the Committee of
Administrators and Mr Mohinder Amarnath as well as Mr Anil Kumble have communicated
their inability to be a part of the steering committee. Thus, the committee of Administrators seek
direction of the apex court for the reconstitution of the steering committee.

Apex Council: Separation of Governance from Management

9
Devendra Pandey, ‘rethink on Lodha panel’s one state one vote plan : BCCI CoA to tell Supreme Court, May,
2017. Avaliable at http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/bcci-coa-to-tell-supreme-court-rethink-on-lodha-
panels-one-state-one-vote-plan-4646986/
10
Fourth status report filed on 9th July 2017 in the matter concerning BCCI vs Cricket association of Bihar and ors,
(2016) 10 SCC 231.

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The governance and the management of BCCI were intertwined with each other. Existence of
professionalism drives the organization, helping it to grow exponentially. Competent sport severs
operation and management for the better promotion of sports. Multiple tier of management exists
internationally in organizations such as FIFA, NBA, NFL and many more. With the primary aim
of promotion of the game of cricket, the committee recommended professional management of
non-cricketing matters headed by CEO (acting as nodal officer), pure cricketing matters such as
selection, coaching, performance and evaluation deserves to be left to the ex-players. The
Umpiring matters should be left to the umpires committee. These all would be answerable to the
apex council.

The apex council would have 9 members out of whom there would be 5 Board members and 4
independent members. The court reduced the number of vice president from 5 to 1 along with
President, Treasurer, Secretary and Joint Secretary. There would also be two committees that
would be advisory in nature – the Tours, Fixtures and Technical committee and the Tournament
committee. The advice would guide the CEO n managing the affairs of the BCCI.

Legalization of Betting

Match/spot fixing interferes with the integrity of the game and attempts to alter the outcome of
the match while betting is considered as a malaise that is indulged in by different strata of the
society. The respondents to the committee opined that legalization of betting would serve the
game and the economy if it were legalized as has been done in the United Kingdom. The
worldwide betting industry is worth over 400 billion USD11. The committee accepting the fact
that as betting does not directly interfere with the game, recommended for its legalization. The
committee also suggested that proper regulatory watchdogs should oversee the activities of
betting providing for registration and licensing of bettors. The report suggests cancellation of
license as well as penal sanctions in case of violations. Betting by team administrators, players
and owners will be considered as a crime.

11
Gowree Gokhale & Rishabh Sharma, World online gambling law report January 2016. Available at
http://www.nishithdesai.com/fileadmin/user_upload/pdfs/Research%20Articles/World_Online_Gaming_Law_Repor
t__January-2016_.pdf

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Tenure of office bearers and Cooling off period

The structure of the Board was centralized leading to a closed, back door management of cricket.
Difference in the nature of state associations led to anomaly in the overall administration of the
game. The non-existence of any definite rules for the office bearers resulted in any individuals
forming a coterie occupying multiple positions on multiple occasions. The absence of ceiling
limit in elections led to the slaughter of governance in the BCCI. To rectify the malpractices, the
committee recommended superannuation of 70 years for the office bearers. The committee also
recommended the tenure of 3 years for the board members with cooling off periods. The
maximum term for any official shall be 312. The court in BCCI vs cricket association of Bihar
opined that,

While all the existing office bearers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and Joint
Secretary) are retained in honorary positions, the number of Vice Presidents is pruned from five
to one. Their duties have been realigned. The President is shorn of his say in selections. The
additional vote for the President at meetings is deleted. The terms of these Office Bearers
continue to be of 3 years, but with a maximum of 3 such terms regardless of the post held, with
a cooling off period after each such term.”

The court expressively by adhering to the committee guidelines observed that the qualifications
prescribed by the recommendations shall be strictly implemented and no office bearer shall be
permitted a term after the cooling period and all the other criterion shall be met with.

Transparency & Accountability

With the raging reluctance of the BCCI to abide by guidelines set forth and innumerous
litigations in order to set back the force of the committee appointed by the apex court; Anurag
Thakur, the erstwhile president of BCCI approached the International Cricket Council (ICC) to
sabotage the effect of committee guidelines by requesting the international cricket council to
issue a letter in order to regard the activities of the panel and the court as amounting to
governmental interference by the means of its orders canvassed the implementation of the
committee guidelines in the present case the apex court held that:

12
Supra 3, Page 31.

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“The involvement of CAG to aid the auditing process of the BCCI would not amount to
governmental interference rather ensure transparency and accountability in the organization13”.

The court in its preliminary judgement has observed that the status report filed by the committee
for the implementation of guidelines portrays that the BCCI has set its foot far from the reach of
the court and has adopted an obstructionist and defiant attitude consecutively by delaying the
process of the law which would in all means perturb justice and would call for a contempt of
court. The court debarred the BCCI to enter into any further transactions nnless the
Memorandum of Association (MoA) and rules made there under as amended by the CoA are
adopted by the Board in its Special General Meeting (SGM) but the Board defrayed through its
conduct and disbursed huge amounts of money amongst the state cricket associations. The BCCI
further pleaded that it could not comply with the guidelines due to the reluctance of state
associations to implement the guidelines14.

The court further opined that no further disbursement of the funds shall take place to the state
associations unless the state association has moved in a resolution assenting to comply with the
orders of the court and the guidelines of the committee. The remaining certain amount of money
was disbursed to 13 state associations15. The court inter alia ordered that the contracts entered
into by the Board above a certain threshold would require assent from the committee and also
ordered to appoint an auditor to manage funds and accounts. Despite the timelines set up by the
apex court for the implementation of the guidelines of the committee, the status reports have
continuously expose the Boards reluctance to cope up with the time frame and the secretary has
failed to submit complying affidavits even after several directions issued by the court, this
clearly infers that the BCCI doesn’t adhere to the timelines.

Applicability of RTI Act to BCCI

The Committee recommended Citizens Charter by BCCI. While the issue of the BCCI being
amenable to the RTI Act is sub-judice before the High Court of Madras16 the court has laid down
the criteria for the declaration of an organization as public authority under Section 2(h) of Right

13
BCCI Vs Cricket Association Of Bihar & Ors (2016) 10 SCC 231.
14
Ibid.
15
Ibid.
16
BCCI vs Central Information Commission , WP NO 20229/2013.

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to Information Act, the apex court has laid down a test in a landmark order of 2013
in Thalappalem Service Cooperative Bank vs State of Kerala & Ors17 wherein it looked into the
facet of substantial financing, it considered Section 2(h) of the RTI Act as a question of fact,
which will depend upon the consideration as to whether the organization is substantially
financed, directly or indirectly, by the funds provided by the State Government.

The court in Om Prakash Kashiram v PIO, Minister of youth affairs and sports18 the same test if
applied to the BCCI shall figure out whether the board would be able to function in its optimum
operational capacity hereafter all state support being withdrawn. The board shall not be able to
function if the government denies consent and cooperation in activities like organization of
matches at regional and national level, governmental assent to selection of national team,
therefore it would be feasible to say that the BCCI would not be able to conduct its public affairs
aand shall be driven under the purview of the RTI act. In another matter before the Central
Information Commission (CIC), the issue raised pertained to the nature of the BCCI hereinafter
it was pleaded that BCCI being a tributary of the state shall be answerable under the provisions
of Right to Information Act19.

Conflict of Interest

On the basis of subjective understanding and consonance with practice conflict of interest can be
understood as a fray between a person’s obligatory administrative duties and his personal interest
which would benefit him either monetarily or fiduciarily. The committee has recommended that
any office bearer in the board shall not hold any commercial interest in the administrative
matters of the board.

The committee has defined conflict of interest as a situation where an individual associated with
the BCCI in any capacity acts or omits to act in a manner that brings, or is perceived to bring the
interest of the individual in conflict with the interest of the game of cricket and that may give rise
to apprehensions of, or actual favouritism, lack of objectivity, bias, benefits (monetary or
otherwise) or linkages, as set out in Rule 3820. The BCCI had taken a view on the subject and

17
(2013) 16 SCC 82.
18
2017 SCC online 734.
19
Om Prakash Kashiram Versus PIO, M/o Youth Affairs & Sports, 2017 SCC OnLine CIC 734.
20
Memorandum of Association & Rules & Regulations finalized by Committee of Administrators.

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excluded Mr. N. Srinivasan from participating in the affairs of the BCCI. But the Hon'ble
Supreme Court observed that whether or not subsequent developments removed the conflict of
interest, which Mr. N. Srinivasan was found guilty by the Court, it was not a matter which would
fall for consideration in those proceedings, though it was left to the BCCI to determine whether
any conflict of interest subsisted. In BCCI vs cricket association of Bihar21, the court opined that
any Administrator or their near relatives should not be associated with any Company/
Organization that has entered into a Commercial Agreement with the BCCI. An Administrator
in an affiliated unit or his/her near relative shall not be associated with a Player Agent or a Player
Management Company in any form either Honorary or Paid.

The new conflict of interest rules have not been implemented as the member state associations
have not recognized it as an issue and there lies no reasonable explanation for the same. The 5 th
status report22 of the Committee of Administrators clearly indicates the failure of the board to
comply with the conflict of interest rules.

Ethics officer

The process of monitoring the implementation of the rules of conflict of interest borrowed from
the new memorandum of association of the board and to vouchsafe the policies of the board, an
ethics officer to be appointed. The ethics officer shall have the power to investigate and
adjudicate upon disruptions.

The committee strongly suggests for the appointment of the ethics officer for monitoring the
deviances from the code of conduct and ensure ethical standards of the board but to the contrary
in the 5th status report filed by the CoA, the committee stated that the heart, kidney and lungs of
these reforms have been drained out and the order of the court after the 4th status report stands
disobeyed.

Ombudsman

The committee has observed that there have been disputes and discernments amongst the board
members, BCCI and the State cricket Associations due to the poor governance structure and

21
(2016) 10 SCC 231.
22
5th status report by the CoA released on 15th august 2017 , Para no 23,available on
http://www.bcci.tv/news/2017/bcci-news/15706/coa-documentation

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institutional framework of the Board. Moreover, there has always been a domination game
existent in matter of disputes. In order to provide an alternative to the dispute resolution process
and reduce the burden of courts, the committee recommends for the inculcation of an
ombudsman institution in the system. It has been stated in the 5th status report submitted by the
CoA that it had through instantaneous communication and by recommending the names of six
judges and even urged the general body of BCCI to appoint the ombudsman, but the BCCI has
failed to comply with the same and there has still been no appointment of an ombudsman in the
board23.

There has been appointment of an administrator in DDCA and Hyderabad Cricket Association
who would supervise the electoral officer in the conduct of free and fair elections. The state
associations adhere to the guidelines of the committee but the BCCI is reluctant. In the 5th status
report, J Vikramjit Sen correctly observed that the what was done during the special general
meeting of the board was completely contrary to Lodha committee guidelines and hence forth in
the 4th status report the CoA urges the court to issue directions for the implementation of
committee guidelines24.

Conclusion

The perusal and analysis of various judicial pronouncements and the status reports throws light
on the unwillingness of the office bearers. On the other hand, the court has timely issued
requisite orders to implement the guidelines. The craving of hegemony and dominance by the
officials’ results in resistance of change and the board continues to flout the direction of the apex
court. This has led to non-implementation of the significant guidelines such as fund disbursement
policy, appointment of ombudsman and ethics officer, adoption of memorandum of association,
rules on conflict of interest and players’ association. The tussle between BCCI and the judiciary
continues to flare but what is compromised is the emotion of the followers and the game per se.

23
5th status report by the CoA released on 15th august 2017 , Para no 23,available on
http://www.bcci.tv/news/2017/bcci-news/15706/coa-documentation
24 th
4 status report by the CoA released on 9th july 2017 , available on http://www.bcci.tv/news/2017/bcci-
news/15706/coa-documentation

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