445417-justice-lodha-smiles

RM Lodha, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who heads the Lodha Recommendation Panel.

 

“Seventy five percent of the Lodha Committee regarding the functioning of the board are very good and most of them have already been implemented” says Shashank Manohar the outgoing BCCI (Board of Control Cricket in India) chief about the Lodha Committee recommendations. This committee led by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India India Rajendra Mal Lodha was established by the Supreme Court to look into allegations of match fixing during the IPL in 2013. It was this committee that then suspended the team owners of Rajasthan Royal and Chennai Super Kings for two years for their alleged involvement in betting.

Why was the Lodha Committee formed?

Now the question to be asked is what are the reasons behind the formation of the Lodha Committee and what are the recommendations? So the drama unfolded when the match fixing scandal broke out during the 2013 IPL i.e. Indian Premier League. When Sreesanth and two other cricketers Ankeet Chavan and Ajith Chandila all belonging to Rajasthan Royal were arrested. It was during this period that the then BCCI chief N. Srinivasan and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan were arrested on charges of heavy betting and providing insider’s information to bookies. As a result BCCI appointed a three member panel to investigate the role of Gurunath in match fixing.

At this juncture with BCCI in a mess N. Srinivasan is replaced by Jagmohan Dalmiya as interim BCCI chief.  In June 2013 the Bihar Cricket Association files PIL against the BCCI panel in the Mumbai High Court alleging that the probe was just an “exercise to cover up” the actual role of Meiyappan in match fixing. The Mumbai High Court then declares the panel illegal and unconstitutional. In response the BCCI approaches the Supreme Court against the high court ruling. It is the Supreme Court that then appointed a committee led by former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal to investigate the scandal. Then in 2015 the Supreme Court ordered a formation another committee to be led by RM Lodha (the former chief justice of the Supreme Court). So as to determine the punishment to be meted out to the guilty identified by the Mudgal report.

What were the recommendations

It was in 2016 then that the Lodha committee published a report that suggested a few recommendations so that the BCCI could become a more transparent sporting body.  A few of the recommendations included were inclusion of BCCI under the Right to Information Act (RTI), legalization of betting, office bearers not permitted to have more than two successive terms, and setting an upper age limit of 70 years for office bearers.

Why have the BCCI rejected some of these recommendations?

A few of these recommendations however have not been accepted by the BCCI. For example the recommendation pertaining disallowing advertisements on TV during the match has been vociferously objected to by the BCCI. With Maharashtra Cricket Association President Ajay Shirke (now BCCI secretary) clearly stating in an interview given to Outlook magazine (latest edition) that “How does chopping off advertising make BCCI a better organization. How can we fund healthcare benefit and benefit schemes”. The other recommendation that BCCI has had issue with is the inclusion of BCCI under the RTI Act. This was an issue even when it was first raised when Congress was at the centre by the then Sports Minister Ajay Maken. With only a few recommendations such as uploading the BCCI constitution on its website, establishing an anti-corruption code, appointing a CEO i.e. Chief Executive Officer having being implemented. It would be interesting to see whether or not the other recommendations are eventually implemented or not.

Anurag Thakur, the new BCCI chief, is he the right man for the job?

As Anurag Thakur becomes the new BCCI president replacing Shashank Manohar who quit the post to become the ICC chairman. We can only hope that a young BCCI chief will make an actual difference to the functioning of the BCCI. As only a properly managed BCCI devoid of any “arrogance” can ensure that Indian cricket stays healthy.

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  “Seventy five percent of the Lodha Committee regarding the functioning of the board are very good and most of them have already been implemented” says Shashank Manohar the outgoing BCCI (Board of Control Cricket in India) chief about the Lodha Committee recommendations. This committee led by former Chief Justice...