New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday warned the BCCI that its defiance in not implementing Justice R.M. Lodha committee recommendations on reforms will be viewed seriously.
Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, heading a three judge bench, which also included Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, expressed its displeasure to senior counsel Arvind P. Datar, appearing for the Board over the turn of events and said, “If the BCCI thinks that they are a law unto themselves, then they are wrong. They have to comply with the directions of the court. You (BCCI) are behaving like Lords. Fall in line otherwise we will make you fall in line. BCCI is bringing the system to disrepute by not following the directions.”
When Mr Datar submitted that the board had complied with most of the directions and would gradually comply with the rest, the CJI said “BCCI, it seems, will go to the extent of defying court orders. We had been anticipating such disregard from the Board. We don’t appreciate such tactics by the BCCI. We have no difficulty in passing orders to make sure our previous orders are implemented.”
The CJI made these observations after counsel for the Lodha panel Gopal Sankar-anarayanan informed the court that the panel had filed a status report seeking removal of the top brass of the Board, including its President Anurag Thakur and Secretary Ajay Shirke for the continued non-compliance of the directions and pleaded for early listing of the matter.
The Bench also had a dig at the Board’s counsel for not curing defects in the petition seeking review of the July 17 judgment accepting the panel’s recommendations and directing implementation in six months. The Bench directed the board to file its response to the status report by October 6 and posted the matter for hearing on that day.
According to the Lodha report, while the office bearers of the BCCI gave assurances to the Supreme Court Committee on 9.8.2016, 25.8.2016 and 20.9.2016 that they would cooperate with the Committee towards fulfilling the directions of this Court (subject to any modification or review), the events over the past weeks have shown that this is not the case.
Directions of this Court have been ignored, actions have been taken to present a fait accompli to the Committee, the directives of the Committee have been breached, and member associations have not been duly intimated about the directions of the Committee and the timelines fixed by it.
Apart from the above clear transgressions, the BCCI has repeatedly taken steps to undermine the Committee and this court, with several statements and actions which are grossly out of order and would even constitute contempt.
Listing some of the statements, the report pointed to the acceptance of the so-called Interim report of Justice Katju and the uploading of the same on the BCCI website. This Report carries the following remarks: Such a precedent of the Supreme Court as this case would enable all judges be it in the Supreme Court or the High Court to completely disregard statutory enactments and constitutional provisions.
The committee sought a direction for removal of the present office-bearers of the BCCI with immediate effect and appoint in their place a Panel of Administrators of the BCCI to ensure the smooth transition from the old to the new system recommended by the Committee; direct that all decisions of the BCCI taken after 18.7.2016 which are contrary to the judgment dated 18.7.2016 of this Court and/or the directives of the SC Committee for implementing the same are non est and ineffective; and any other direction as may be deemed fit for the implementation of the judgment dated 18.7.2016.