New Delhi, Jan 2:
Coming down heavily on the defiant BCCI brass, the Supreme Court today removed Anurag Thakur and Ajay Shirke as President and Secretary for “obstructing” and “impeding” its directions for overhauling governance in the cricket body, which will now be overseen by a committee of administrators.
Acknowledging that it has been forced to take “coercive” steps to mend matters in the Board, the court ordered that till the committee is formed, its administration will be headed by the senior-most Vice President while the senior-most Joint Secretary will perform the duties of Secretary.
Notwithstanding the curative petitions filed by the BCCI, which was seen as a ruse for continuance of some office bearers, the court set out conditions based on Lodha committee recommendations for their removal–like bar on those 70 years, ministers, civil servants and those in positions beyond 9 years.
The court also slapped Thakur with contempt and perjury notices for filing a false affidavit over writing to ICC on the issue of autonomy.
“The President and Secretary and office bearers of BCCI have obstructed the implementation of the final directions of this Court on the basis of a specious plea that its State Associations are not willing to abide by the directions,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, who will demit office tomorrow.
It slammed Thakur saying “his actions and conduct rendered himself unfit for continuance as President of BCCI” and he is “liable to be proceeded with for contempt of court for having obstructed and impeded the orders of this Court.”
The top court issued show cause notice to Thakur to explain as to why he should not be prosecuted under Section 195 read with Section 340 of the CrPC for filing “false” affidavit before it that he did not sought letter from ICC president Shashank Manohar on the recommendation for appointment of CAG nominee in board would amount to “government interference”.
“The conduct of the President of BCCI in seeking a letter from the President of ICC in August 2016, after the final judgement and Order of this Court, is nothing but an attempt on the part of the head of BCCI to evade complying, with the Order of this Court,” the apex court said while issuing show cause notice to Thakur to respond as to why he should not be proceeded against for the contempt of court.
The apex court said that a committee of administrators shall supervise the administration of BCCI through its Chief Executive Officer and directed that till then the senior-most Vice-President of BCCI shall perform the duties of the President and the Joint Secretary shall perform the duties of Secretary.
The bench also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said though sufficient opportunities have been granted to BCCI to comply with the judgement and order of this Court, it has failed to do so.
“This Court having furnished sufficient opportunities to BCCI to comply, it is constrained now to take recourse to coercive steps to ensure that the directions contained in its final judgement and order are not left to be a writ in sand,” it said.
The bench said the Lodha panel consists of a former Chief Justice of India and two former Judges of the apex court and they have been tasked with overseeing implementation of the judgement of this Court but BCCI left no stone unturned to frustrate the former judges of the top court.
“Yet, the Committee has repeatedly been confronted with a barrage of unfortunate comments by BCCI–in Press conferences and in correspondence–with an intent that it should lead to a situation where it throws up its arms in despair and frustration,” the bench said.
With regard to office bearers continuing at their posts despite the recommendations of Lodha panel being accepted by the court, persons who have a vested interest in continuing in their positions in spite of the norms noted above have ensured that the writ of the court is obstructed and impeded.
“We need to emphasise that the turf of the cricket field is not a personal turf or fiefdom. We must hence order and direct that no person shall hereafter continue to be or be entitled for appointment as office bearer of BCCI or a State Association in breach of the above norms.
“All existing office bearers of BCCI and of the State Associations who do not fulfil the above norms shall with effect from the date of this Order stand disqualified,” it said.
In a slew of directions, the apex court also directed that office bearers of BCCI and its affiliated state associations who fail to meet the norms recommended by Justice R M Lodha panel shall forthwith demit and cease to hold office.
The Lodha panel had made recommendations, which were also endorsed by apex court, said that a person shall be disqualified from being an office bearer if he or she is not a citizen of India, has attained the age of 70 years, is declared to be insolvent or of unsound mind.
The panel constituted by apex court comprising former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha and ex-Supreme Court judges –Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran–for recommending structural reforms in BCCI, has also said that no office bearer should be a Minister or government servant, holds any office or post in a sports or athletic association or federation apart from cricket or has been an office bearer of the BCCI for a cumulative period of 9 years and has been charged by a court of law for having committed any criminal offence.
The apex court requested senior advocate and noted jurist Fali S Nariman and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam who was assisting as amicus curiae to suggest names of persons with integrity and experience in managing a similar enterprise within two weeks.
“Upon the Committee of administrators as nominated by this Court assuming charge, the existing office bearers shall function subject to the supervision and control of the Committee of administrators.(PTI)
New Delhi, Jan 2: