Politicians can participate in the affairs of BCCI: SC

sc(IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said that it was not against politicians taking part in the affairs of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) or interfering in its autonomy but only wanted that its activities promoted development of the game in the country.

Making its stand clear, the court wanted to know if the apex cricketing body has asked its auditors to conduct the performance audit of the funds flowing from it to the state cricketing associations.

The court said this as it reserved its verdict on the BCCI and its state affiliates red flagging some of the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee. They are particularly aggrieved by the recommendations providing for ‘one state, one vote’, ceiling on the tenure of the office bearers and presence of a CAG nominee on the BCCI board.

“We are not reviewing any decision of the BCCI. Say if they are selecting a team whether they should have a fast bowler or a spinner. We are not going to step in there,” said the bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

The court observation came as the apex cricketing body contended that it could not be directed the way it should go about in conducting its functioning. The bench was told that if it was open to the court to go into its existence, constitution, membership, qualification of membership, then it would apply to other 64 national sports bodies managing the affairs of various sports in the country.

“Politicians could always be there in their individual capacity,” the bench said as senior counsel K.K.Venugopal appearing for the BCCI told the court. “Whether one is a bureaucrat or a politician, so long he is elected according to rules, there can be no bar.”

The senior counsel said that the apex cricketing body needed best people with vast experience to manage its affairs.

However, the court had a dig at the BCCI for “now” asking its state affiliates to furnish the proper utilisation certificate of the funds given to them.

Referring to a communication by the BCCI to its state associations, which read that “members are now required” to furnish the details of the utilisation of funds given to them by it, the bench asked: “Why you did not require (this) earlier”.

As Venugopal told the court that in case of misutilisation of its funds, the BCCI stops further funding, the bench asked: “Why should you stop aid to the game, simply because some thieves have misused the funds. Stopping aid is no answer.”

It asked Venugopal whether the BCCI has asked the auditors to conduct a performance audit of funds flowing from it to the state cricket associations.

Welcoming the some steps being taken by the BCCI, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium pointed to startling facts about the membership in Delhi wherein he said that it was found that in a dwelling unit of 48 square metres, 14 and 12 people were living.

The court had appointed Subramanium as amicus curiae to assist the court in the hearing of the matter.

Subramanium cited an instance where a member’s driver, driver’s daughter and other family members too were shown as the members of state cricket association.

He said that once it has been held that BCCI was discharging public functions, then it has to go by rule of law and its functioning should be transparent.

Appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram said while BCCI was telling the court that it was mending its ways, on the other hand its president Anurag Thakur has said that if Lodha Committee recommendations were implemented, then it would take the BCCI where it was 20 years back.

Chidambaram said that if a person is chargesheeted then he can’t become an office bearer of the BCCI, referring apparently to the chargesheet against Anurag Thakur in Dharamshala cricket stadium case.

Medaram Jathara

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