For all those who have been regularly attending the Supreme Court hearings on the Justice Lodha panel recommendations, it is obvious that BCCI is hell-bent on not following some of its key recommendations.
Its defiance, understandable in the light of the fact that an entire set of present BCCI office-bearers will get wiped out from its power structure, is nevertheless undesirable as it challenges the authority of the highest court of the land. The court so far has been lenient and not ordered contempt proceedings for this unprecedented act of impudence that could invite severe punishment.
After the last hearing, it is now clear that the Supreme Court will appoint a panel of administrators/observers, to oversee the implementation of its order with the CEO of the Board responsible for running its day to day cricket operations.
What is disquieting is that the Board, through its lawyer, Kapil Sibal, made it clear that even this order may not serve any purpose. Sibal told the three-member bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur , how would the appointment of administrators help, as majority of the board’s members are not accepting the order and they will continue to do so, unless the Board’s constitution is changed.
Since the assent of three-fourths of the members is needed to do so, Sibal hinted that the problem will still persist. Justice Thakur’s annoyance, expressed through the words “we know that vested interests are getting together and not letting the order be implemented” does not seem to be having any effect.
An apology was literally forced from Sibal by the Court on the perjury issue against Board president Anurag Thakur, though the court made it clear that their final order on this won’t be dictated by the apology offered.
Sibal, the good lawyer that he is, told the court that they are the law and their order becomes the law of the land but that does not stop “us from disagreeing with you” in the best traditions of freedom of speech. What this meant was: “we respect your judgment, but sorry you are wrong.”
What should worry the followers of the game is that the Board, even after the appointment of administrators, is likely to create all sorts of problems and continue to defy the court order. It is a confrontation that will not only be astounding in the breath of its defiance, but could also spell disaster for the smooth functioning of the Board.
There are reports that the Board members are already saying let the administrators be appointed, they will need “our help to bring in the changes.” Needless to say, that help may not be forthcoming, in the process creating a chaotic situation that could stymie the functioning of the Board.
So far, the reluctance of the Supreme Court to order a harsh punishment for the Board’s defiance has encouraged its members to follow this path and treat the court orders so lightly. In the next hearing, which could possibly be the last time Justice Thakur pronounces an order, as he is retiring after the first week of January, we may still not have any clarity on which way the cricket administration is heading in this country.