NEW DELHI: R M Lodha is an unhappy man. The former chief justice, whose recommendations for reform in the Indian Cricket Board were accepted in toto by the Supreme Court, has expressed his displeasure in no uncertain terms over what he says is continuing defiance by the BCCI in implementing the Supreme Court order.
In a chat with New Indian Express, Justice Lodha slammed the Supreme Court-appointed administrators as well. “I don’t understand why they have got involved in incidental matters and not shown urgency in doing the job they were supposed to perform,” he said.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) was given a time-frame to oversee implementation of the Lodha recommendations. Justice Lodha feels that the administrators’ job was not to get involved in running the day-to-day affairs of the board, but to get “structural changes, a new governance model in place and work on getting a Players Association functional.”
Though Justice Lodha did not say so in so many words, it was clear he was unable to fathom why and how the board has been allowed to defy the Supreme Court’s orders so brazenly.
On former board president N Srinivasan and a few others -- who are disqualified being allowed to attend BCCI meetings, he said, “It was for the CoA to see that all those who are not eligible to attend meetings are not allowed to do so. I don’t understand how this is happening.” Lodha also said the BCCI’s continued defiance, despite two of its main office-bearers – Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke – having been removed by the court for obstructing their orders, is beyond his understanding.
Asked whether it was illegal of the BCCI to set up an eight-member committee to look into which recommendations are not possible to implement, Justice Lodha said, “This is an internal matter of the board, but how long can the board continue to stall reforms? Whatever objections or reservations they had were heard in court and only after that was the order passed. They can’t keep finding one excuse after another. Whether illegal or not, it is certainly against the spirit and soul of the court order.”
He also said that after being given a time-frame by the Supreme Court to get the order implemented, his panel went back to the court a few times, giving instances of the board’s defiance. That was why finally, two top officials of the board were removed and a four-member Committee of Administrators was formed to oversee implementation of far-reaching reforms within a time of four to six months.
Does he not think that by continuing to defy the order the board is going to invite the wrath of the Supreme Court, just like Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke did?
It was obvious Justice Lodha did not want to comment on what the court should or is going to do, in its next hearing, except for saying, “I am sure the court is going to do whatever is appropriate.”