BCCI & Lodha Panel: A Stimulus for the Reformation of Sports Administration In the Country By Harshvardhan Korada from Amity Law School, Delhi
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the national governing body for cricket. It was registered as a society in December 1928 under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. Thereafter, it had been functioning independently with sole authority and control over cricketing affairs of the nation. For years BCCI had been operating in an utmost arbitrary and unbridled manner until the apex court appointed a panel led by former top judge Rajendra Mal Lodha to come up with a series of recommendations that would regulate the working of the BCCI.
However, even after being given a reasonable time to "fall in line", BCCI chose to be non-compliant to the law of the land. The primary contention of representatives of BCCI in the Hon'ble Supreme Court was that they were an independent association as under the section 19 (1) (C) and they had the right to govern themselves in all possible manner. The arguments of BCCI were invalidated by the Hon'ble Supreme Court which further ordered the removal of Board President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke for being rebellious and hindering the reforms recommended by the panel. A notice was also issued to Anurag Thakur for committing perjury.
Reacting to the decision of the apex court, Lodha said that it was an unavoidable consequence of the board being defiant. He said, "One should understand that when the order of the Supreme Court, which is the highest court of the land, has come, it has to be obeyed by all. It is the law of the land. Nobody can escape it".
Many sporting organizations lauded the decision and considered it to be a historic move taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Ashok Kumar, former Olympian, hockey captain, and son of the legendary Maj Dhyan Chand in association with 27 former Olympians, international sportspersons, and Arjuna Awardees have come together and have petitioned the Supreme Court to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations across all sporting disciplines. Justice Mukul Mudgal advocating for the same cause said, “The general principles contained in the Lodha Committee reforms can apply across the board. The Supreme Court judgment lays down the law of the land, wherein the principles contained are generic in nature. It ought to be applied across sports, not just in cricket”. He was also hopeful that the 'Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill' was also implemented soon in the country.
The author believes that a sport is an agency which leads to the development of a nation and unifies people of different backgrounds and cultures. It plays a vital role in uplifting people from marginalized communities. The state has a part in developing appropriate infrastructural facilities for sports enthusiasts and sportsmen who represent the nation on a global platform. For sports to bloom in a country, the national administrative bodies ought to function in an utmost efficient manner. There should be transparency in the selection procedures and the process through which the members leading these national boards are elected. The state should make an attempt to check all kinds of malpractices and further prevent corruption in sports. The decision of the Supreme Court in the BCCI case is one such step in refining the sports law to effectively regulate the sports administration in the nation.
The BCCI case can be regarded as a precedent allowing the state regulation and interference in the national sports administration, thereby bringing in a system of checks and balances. While it is a great decision, but there should be more stress in the policy making for the development of sports at a grassroots level. This is the only way for sportsmen to rise from a district level and then go to represent their nation.
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