The Supreme Court on Monday removed Anurag Thakur as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Board Secretary Ajay Shirke has also been removed from his post.
The court’s verdict ended an impasse between the BCCI and the Justice Lodha committee, which was appointed in January 2015 to investigate the board’s functioning after the 2013 Indian Premier League corruption scandal. The panel was also asked to propose changes to streamline the BCCI and make its functioning more transparent.
The court had approved most of the panel’s recommendations in its order on July 18 last year. In October, the board relented and accepted most of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee, but excluded a few including one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators.
“The members do not agree to implement three-four recommendations as they are not practical. To convey this, we sought time but the committee is not giving us time for the last two months,” Anurag Thakur had said.
The SC had subsequently imposed restrictions on the BCCI from spending or distributing of funds to member units if they don’t implement Lodha panel recommendations in full. The BCCI and its units though remained defiant, with only the Vidarbha Cricket Association, Hyderabad Cricket Association and Tripura Cricket Association accepting the reforms in toto.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, stated on Monday that the BCCI and state board officials failed to implement its orders to bring transparency and accountability in cricket body and, hence, ordered the removal.
“As per July 18, 2016 order, these two officials (Thakur and Shirke) did not comply with its order and thereby been removed,” ANI quoted the court as saying. “The BCCI and state board officials failed to implement its orders to bring transparency and accountability in cricket body,” the court added.
The Supreme Court intends to replace the top brass of BCCI with an independent panel of administrators. It has sought names from the Justice Lodha panel and will name replacements on January 19, when the next hearing in the case will be held.
The Apex Court appointed Fali Nariman and senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium as Amicus Curiae to name observers to replace BCCI officials. In the interim, the court clarified that the senior most vice president of the cricket body and the present joint secretary will act as the president and the secretary, respectively. It also directed all office-bearers of the BCCI and all affiliated state associations to give an undertaking that they will abide by the directions of the court and accept the Lodha panel recommendations.
Office-bearers of either the BCCI or a state association who failed to meet the norms of the Lodha panel, “shall demit the post and cease to be office bearers”.
Earlier, the Lodha panel had suggested the name of former home secretary GK Pillai as observer, but the BCCI said it has “serious objection” on the appointment of Pillai.
The court has also issued a notice to Anurag Thakur seeking his explanation why contempt proceedings should not be launched against him.
During the last hearing, the SC had reserved its order on the issue of initiating contempt and perjury proceedings against Thakur and Shirke, but added that “prima facie we feel that both of them are liable for contempt and perjury and we are inclined to launch prosecution.”
Reacting on the Court’s decision, Justice Lodha said it was a logical consequence. “Once committee’s reforms were accepted by SC in its 18 July order, it had to be implemented, this is logical consequence,” Justice Lodha said.