In a dramatic development, the Supreme Court on Monday removed the BJP MP and the BCCI president, Anurag Thakur from the post of the Indian cricket body’s chief. The court also removed the BCCI secretary, Ajay Shirke.
Thakur was also issued contempt notice by the Supreme Court in alleged perjury case. He was earlier accused by the apex court of having lied on oath.
Senior-most Vice President of BCCI will act as President and Joint Secy will act as Secretary. All office bearers of the BCCI and state associations to give an undertaking to abide by recommendations of Lodha Committee. All office bearers of BCCI & state associations who refuse to abide by recommendations of Lodha panel shall demit office forthwith.
Cracking the whip on a defiant BCCI, the Supreme Court today removed its president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, saying they should “forthwith cease and desist from” the board’s work.
The apex court also decided to initiate contempt proceedongs against Thakur by seeking his response as to why he should not be held liable for obstructing the implementation of the court’s directions aimed at reforming BCCI.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said that working of BCCI will be looked after by a committee of administrators and requested senior advocate Fali S Nariman and senior advocate Gopal Subramanian, who was assisting in the matter as amicus curaie, to assist the court in nominating persons of impeccable integrity as the members in the committee of administrators.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said that Nariman and Subramanian will complete the task in two weeks and the matter for passing the direction for nominating the persons in committee of administrators will be taken up on 19 January.
It clarified that till the new administrators take over the working of BCCI, the senior most vice president of the board will act as the president and the present joint secretary will assume the work as secretary.
The apex court directed that all office bearers of BCCI and state associations will have to give their undertaking that they will abide by the directions of the top court that has accepted the recommendations of the panel headed by former chief justice of India R M Lodha.
It warned that office bearers of BCCI or state associations who “fails to meet” the norms of the Lodha panel, accepted by the apex court, “shall demit the post and cease to be office bearers”.
It made it clear that as per the recommendations of the Lodha panel which has been accepted by the apex court, no person above 70 years of age, unsound mind, ministers, government servant, convicted persons and those who have held the posts for cumulative period of nine years and those who are part of any other sports association shall be eligible to hold any position in the cricket bodies.
During the 15 December, 2016 hearing, the apex court had threatened to initiate contempt and perjury proceedings against Thakur for asking the ICC CEO for a letter but denying it on oath, warning he may have to go to jail if found guilty.
The court had reminded the BCCI top brass that Thakur as president of the board had asked for a letter from ICC CEO Dave Richardson that the appointment of a CAG nominee in the cricket body would compromise with autonomy and amount to government interference.
The bench headed by the chief justice had also pulled up BCCI for trying to mislead the court and warned Thakur that he may land in jail if the apex court pronounces its order in perjury proceedings.
“If you want to escape perjury charges, you ought to apologise. At every stage you have been trying to obstruct.
Everyone wants to go around and continue to hold the post even after 70 years. This is such a lucrative business that everyone wants to go on forever” the bench had said.
It had also referred to a letter by ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar and said even he has stated that Thakur had asked for such a letter.
The apex court had also said that by asking ICC to write such a letter, BCCI has intended to defeat the purpose of the verdict, that too when the bench had made it clear that appointment of CAG nominee would bring about transparency in the cricket body.
On 18 July, 2016, the apex court had accepted major recommendations of the Lodha panel on reforms in BCCI, including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming members, but left it to Parliament to decide whether it should come under RTI or whether betting on the game should be legalised.
It had also accepted the recommendations of the committee to have a CAG nominee in BCCI and had rejected the board’s objection to recommendation for ‘one-state, one- vote’ noting that Maharashtra and Gujarat have more than one cricket body, so they will have voting rights in rotation.
The bench had accepted the recommendation that one person should hold one post in the cricket administration to avoid conflict of interest and scrapping of all administrative committees in BCCI after the CAG nominee comes in.
The apex court-appointed Lodha Committee had on 4 January last year recommended sweeping reforms and an administrative shake-up in the troubled BCCI.