NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday signalled the end of its monitoring of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), clearing the way for elected office-bearers to once again run the affairs of the influential board. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA), which was put in place by the SC in 2017 to run BCCI and implement reforms suggested by the Justice RM Lodha panel, to demit office after board members, chosen through elections on Wednesday, take charge. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has already been elected the BCCI president unopposed.
The SC’s intervention, which eventually resulted in cricket’s administrators losing control of one of the richest sports bodies in the world, started in 2013, after the Indian Premier League (IPL) got mired in spot-fixing and betting allegations which led to massive outrage.Importantly, the bench provided a shield to CoA members Vinod Rai, Lt Gen (retired) Ravi Thodge and former cricketer Diana Edulji, as well as officers who carried out the committee’s orders, from litigation.Rai, Edulji to get Rs 3.5 crore eachThe move to provide cover to CoA is being seen as a necessary precaution in the backdrop of the unhappiness the apex court’s nominees generated among cricket’s bosses who were loath to give up the levers of the board. “They shall be immune from action in respect of any acts performed by them as CoA in good faith. No proceedings shall be initiated against any member of the said committee individually or the committee jointly without leave of this court,” it ordered.
The bench accepted the request of senior advocate Parag Tripathi and lawyer Gauri Rasgotra, and allowed the CoA to submit audited accounts of BCCI for the financial years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to the registrar functioning under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act within seven days. While appreciating the contribution of amicus curiae P S Narasimha, it directed BCCI to pay the remunerations due to CoA members at the rate of Rs 10 lakh per month in 2017, Rs 11 lakh per month for 2018 and Rs 12 lakh per month for 2019 within 48 hours. This means Vinod Rai and fellow panel member Diana Edulji, who served in the CoA for its entire duration of 33 months, will be getting around Rs 3.5 crore each.
The SC also directed that BCCI would bear the legal expenses of CoA members and the electoral officer in case any litigation was initiated against them with regard to discharge of their functions.
The exit of CoA means that Sourav Ganguly, the BCCI president elect, will have a tenure unshackled from interventions of the committee members who were accused of “micro-managing” and seeking to get into matters which should have been, many felt, left for those with better cricketing minds and experience.