Legalise betting, suggests top court panel on BCCI revamp

RSTV Bureau
FILE: File photo of former CJI RM Lodha.  Photo - PTI

FILE: File photo of former CJI RM Lodha in the centre.
Photo – PTI

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee has advocated a massive re-haul of national cricket body BCCI. Laying their recommendations the apex court panel headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha suggested a bar on ministers occupying positions in the BCCI, putting a cap on the age and tenure of the office-bearers, besides a bold recommendation of legalising the betting.

The committee, which was appointed by the Supreme Court after the IPL controversy, submitted its 159-page report before the top court’s registry on Monday.

“First thing is about the structure and the constitution…. Some of the states have multiple members like Maharashtra has three, Gujarat has 3… one state as a unit of representation in BCCI is a very fair idea,” Justice Lodha said as he apprised the press of their recommendations adding, the panel narrowed down on the proposals after it had held 38 meetings with Board officials, cricketers and other stakeholders.

However, the most talked-about recommendation is that of legalising betting. According to the panel, it would help curb corruption in the game and recommended that except for players and officials, people should be allowed to place bets on registered sites.

And to ensure the transparency in the functioning of the BCCI, the panel opined that it is important to bring the body under the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act, something that the BCCI had vehemently opposed in the past citing its autonomy.

cricket_sports“Since the BCCI performs public functions, people have the right to know the functions and facilities and other activities of the BCCI and therefore in our opinion whether RTI Act is applicable to BCCI or BCCI is amenable to RTI is sub-judice. We have recommended the legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act,” Justice Lodha said.

The panel had also suggested a cap of three years and age bar on the tenures of the national cricket body’s office bearers.

“As regards the office bearers of BCCI – President, VP, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer, certain eligibility criteria has been fixed like, he must be an Indian, he must not be above age of 70, he must not be insolvent, he must not be a minister or a government servant and who has not held office in the BCCI for a cumulative period for nine years,” he added.

As part of its proposed revamp of the BCCI’s administrative set-up, the panel said that BCCI’s everyday affairs should be run by a CEO.

The panel also suggested the formation of a players’ association to ensure that cricketers have a say in the Board’s functioning.

“There should be an apex council for the BCCI comprising 9 members, of which 5 should be elected, 2 should be representatives of players association, and one woman,” said Justice Lodha explaining that the players’ association will be formed by a steering committee, headed by former Home Secretary GK Pillai, and comprising former captains Mohinder Amarnath and Anil Kumble along with women’s legend Diana Edulji.

In a related development, Lodha panel also gave a clean chit to former IPL COO Sundar Raman in connection with the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal, citing lack of evidence against him. Raman was named by the Justice Mukul Mudgal-led panel, which was formed to investigate the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

“There was not enough evidence against Sundar Raman and no knowledge of him knowing Vindoo (Dara Singh),” said Justice RM Lodha while reading out parts of the report he submitted before the Supreme Court Monday.

(With inputs from the PTI)