Change favouring extension of Sourav Ganguly's tenure unlikely to be opposed in SC

One more obstacle blocking Sourav Ganguly's way to remain BCCI president off the path, or is it...
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly with president and secretary of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), Avishek Dalmiya (middle) and Snehasish Ganguly (right) respectively. (Photo | ANI)
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly with president and secretary of Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), Avishek Dalmiya (middle) and Snehasish Ganguly (right) respectively. (Photo | ANI)

CHENNAI: The BCCI's appeal to make sweeping changes in its constitution may not face opposition from the lawyers of Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB). The matter comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. It was on the basis of a petition filed by CAB that the apex court-ordered reforms, which led to the registration of the new constitution in 2018.

Important among the changes sought by BCCI is a revision of the cooling-off rule. Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah will not be able to continue as president and secretary, respectively, unless this rule is amended. 

Among other notable amendments pleaded for are more power for elected office-bearers and relief from the obligation of seeking Supreme Court approval for changes in the constitution. Removing the clause barring persons convicted for a criminal offence for three years from becoming an office-bearer or Apex Council member is another.

While the BCCI lawyers will plead in favour of these changes, those representing CAB -- Vikas Mehta and Rajat Sehgal -- are unlikely to oppose them. This is a big change in the stand of CAB, the petitioner in the case which led to the reforms. This case was referred to as CAB vs BCCI. The same body deciding against opposing the changes it once fought for is significant.

"Under the circumstances and taking into account the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, our lawyers will not oppose the changes sought by BCCI. A figure like Ganguly is good for Indian cricket and he has had little time to settle down in his job. We will request the court to let the existing set-up continue for at least as long as the situation isn't normal. We are not looking at a time frame like one year or three years," said CAB secretary Aditya Verma.

Going by rules, Ganguly's tenure ends on July 26. That's when he completes six years in total as a BCCI office-bearer and an office-bearer of Cricket Association of Bengal. He has to take a cooling-off break of three years. 

Following the same rule, secretary Jay Shah's term is already over, while joint-secretary Jayesh George's term gets over on September 23. 

The BCCI's argument is, time spent in state units and in BCCI should be counted separately.

The CAB not opposing changes doesn't guarantee anything. 

"Lawyers of two sides may be on the same page. The verdict doesn't necessarily depend on that. It's the court that ordered the reforms and it was not done because of CAB. The court's view can be different from that of the lawyers of the two sides," said a legal professional familiar with BCCI matters.

This case is also about the Supreme Court being requested to revise its own order. Not that there are no precedents, but for it to happen the order has to come from a bigger bench. 

The bench that passed the reform order had three judges. Wednesday's hearing will be in front of a two-member bench.


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