CHENNAI: Secretary's tenure is over. The vice-president’s seat is vacant. There is no CEO and CFO. In about two weeks, the president’s term will end. In September, the joint-secretary will also head for a cooling-off break. Unless there isn’t a dramatic development, the BCCI will be left with just the treasurer in the near future, going by the rule book.
Is there a way out? So that the richest cricket board doesn’t become a headless entity? The BCCI’s appeal seeking changes in the constitution including the cooling-off rule for elected office-bearers is waiting for a hearing in Supreme Court. Unless the court passes an order, those completing their tenure (time spent in state bodies plus time spent in BCCI) have to go. Right? That may not be the case, going by whispers in the board corridors.
It may sound odd, but a section of members of the BCCI are of the opinion that because the court has not dismissed the appeal to make changes in the constitution, the office-bearers may continue as long as the matter is not heard. If this happens, Jay Shah will carry on as secretary and Sourav Ganguly will remain president. There is also a section that thinks Shah has already become disqualified and so will Ganguly after July 27 and joint-secretary Jayesh George after September 23.
According to them, rules are clear that tenure ends automatically when it is due. One doesn’t have to wait for a court hearing to know whether his term is over. In this backdrop, the BCCI’s Apex Council meeting slated for July 17 becomes crucial. Although discussing tenures is not part of the agenda, the issue has been raised by CAG representative Alka Rehani Bharadwaj. She has sought clarifications on who is eligible to attend such meetings and for how long. Once tenure is over, one is not supposed to attend Apex Council meetings.
However, there is a school of thought stating otherwise. “BCCI’s general body can amend the constitution if the court approves. At the last annual general meeting (held in December), they approved a few amendments. Those included the cooling-off break. The court is still to approve it. But it hasn’t dismissed the plea either. As long as the appeal is not heard, the existing officials may continue,” said a source following developments.
There is another section that believes the BCCI may request for tenure extension for key officials considering the circumstances. If the president, secretary and joint-secretary take the cooling-off break, only way to fill up the vacancies is conducting elections. That may not be possible until restrictions are lifted and traveling is declared safe.
Of course, all this will depend on what the court decides once the BCCI matter comes up for hearing. The board’s appeal is effectively a request to the court to change its own order. But as long as the case is not heard and the BCCI doesn’t clear its stand on the status of the office-bearers, speculations will continue and different theories will do the rounds.