The clock is ticking. The president, secretary and joint secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will soon become ineligible to continue in office. A Supreme Court order passed in 2018 has a cooling-off rule that says elected administrators who complete six straight years in office—in state associations or BCCI or combined—have to take a three-year break. In these three years, they cannot hold any position in a state unit or BCCI. The rule was made to prevent individuals from holding posts for a long time, a problem that necessitated court intervention in the cricket body’s functioning in 2014.
After Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah became president and secretary last October, the BCCI filed an appeal to amend the cooling-off rule. It pleaded that an official be allowed a complete term in BCCI regardless of how many years he or she had spent in a state body prior to that. Although the appeal was filed in January, it is still to be heard. Since the Supreme Court is dealing with fewer cases due to the pandemic, it cannot be said with certainty if there will be an order soon. If there is no judgment before Ganguly and Shah complete six years by July-end, they have to vacate their seats. As of now, the cricket board is still to start planning for this eventuality.
Considering that the BCCI’s petition requests the Supreme Court to reconsider its own verdict and that similar appeals during the early stages of the reform process were turned down, it would not have been surprising had this one too been rejected. But the court has not dismissed the latest appeal. So the BCCI remains hopeful and at the same time, unsure of what is in store. It cannot plan long term because of the uncertainty surrounding key office-bearers. This has not affected everyday functioning yet, but it will as long as there is no verdict and July-end comes closer. Resisting Supreme Court orders stubbornly until a couple of years ago, the BCCI is suddenly praying for a quick hearing in the same court. How times change!