The patience of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is finally beginning to wear thin. Nearly six months since it was appointed, the CoA has tried its best to persuade the BCCI and its members – the state associations – to adopt the new constitution as recommended by the Lodha Committee.
In a frank interview, Vinod Rai, the CoA chairman, tells ESPNcricinfo that, as far as he is concerned, there is no more room for talks, and he is looking forward to the Supreme Court finally putting its foot down.
A year since the seminal judgment and we are where we started. How do you look at the current situation?
I will speak only from January 30. I (CoA) cannot look into what happened before that. The Supreme Court tried to implement the reforms till January 30. But that did not take place for whatever reasons. Then we were appointed. Our mandate was to implement the recommendations of the Lodha Committee as approved by the Supreme Court on July 18, 2016. How do we ensure that mandate is fulfilled? We can ensure that mandate is fulfilled only by making the BCCI’s special general body meeting (SGM) pass a resolution (to adopt the new constitution and reforms). Isn’t it? If that could have been done by January 30, then we would not have been required.
Since the verdict was thrust onto them, they did not agree so I tried to build consensus (among BCCI members). I told them you have said withdraw the order, but the Supreme Court would not withdraw it since it has passed the judgment. I asked the BCCI members to narrow down the parts of the order that were hurting them, but please adopt the new constitution. And then appeal to the court asking to look at the shortlist of recommendations again.
I asked them not to defy the court, be obedient to the verdict and if you have some genuine problems bring it to the notice of the court. That is why I held the meeting (with the state associations) before the SGMs (on June 6 and June 25). I was impressing upon them the fact that if you adopt the constitution you get onto the right side of the court. Then you point out X & Y are practical difficulties and hence cannot be implemented.
This attempt failed due to the intransigence of a couple of people with vested interests who could sway the others.
Since they once again decided to ignore the Supreme Court order in the June 26 SGM, we had no option but to tell the court (through the status report) of all our efforts and all that had transpired.
Because I don’t have the power to thrust the constitution on them, I can’t force them to adopt the new constitution. So if anybody says why couldn’t the CoA implement it, how can I implement it when the court itself has not been able to do that? We have now told the court that we have tried, I can’t implement because they are intransigent and because of a few disruptive elements. I just laid it bare.
So your patience has been tested?
It is not patience. My consensus-building efforts did not fructify. I am not frustrated. I am just saying the writ of the court must run.
Would it help if the court gave you powers or passed a clear judgment at its next hearing?
I have told the court to issue an order under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, and issue direction to the Registrar of the Tamil Nadu government to register the new BCCI constitution.
So the sooner the court issues that order, the easier your job would get?
Yes because the court could not succeed in persuading them to pass the constitution. Then the court asked us to do it. We have tried our best to persuade them, build the consensus. Now that they have not agreed, I have sought the direction of the court.
Would it be helpful if the court finally takes a hard stance on the issue?
Article 142 says: “Enforcement of the decrees and orders of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it and make it enforceable throughout the territory of India.”
The court need only pass an order enforcing its own decree. No one else can do that.
Last week the BCCI trimmed its reservations to three recommendations. What is your view?