The Lodha Committee's clarifications have ensured there is no way back for ousted BCCI office bearers such as Ajay Shirke and Anurag Thakur © AFP
No ousted BCCI office bearer will be able to attend BCCI meetings as a state-association representative or ICC meetings as a BCCI representative after a fresh set of clarifications by the Lodha Committee has barred all disqualified office bearers from being "associated with cricket administration".
Ever since the Supreme Court made them ineligible with its January 2 order, many office bearers at various state associations have harboured hopes of retaining their position in some form. Last week, a Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) meeting had reportedly appointed its former president and BCCI's last secretary Ajay Shirke as its representative at BCCI meetings.
The Lodha Panel's clarifications, however, have put paid to any hopes the disqualified officials might have harboured of coming back to the BCCI fold. In a response to frequently asked questions - by BCCI representatives, state associations and journalists - the Lodha Committee said: "In keeping with the spirit of the hon'ble Supreme Court's judgment, a disqualified office bearer is no longer to be associated with cricket administration. He/she is disqualified from being a representative or nominee of the member association or the BCCI and cannot discharge any other role in or on behalf of the association or the BCCI. He/she cannot function within the association in any patron or advisory capacity not be a member of a committee or council."
The Lodha Committee also dealt with another key issue concerning elections of state associations. It said it would be "prudent" for state associations to await the appointment of the panel of administrators by the Supreme Court, which is likely to be finalised at the next hearing on January 19. This could have an impact on the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), which is scheduled to hold its elections on January 17. The Lodha Committee has not barred the HCA from holding elections should it be able to follow the committee's norms.
"While there is no bar to the holding of elections [subject to the orders of any court], if any election is held which is inconsistent with the committee's report and the judgment of the Supreme Court, then the same will be treated as void and with no legal sanctity. This would also necessarily imply that such an election is supervised by an election officer as prescribed under the recommendations."
Among other clarifications, the committee has said officials in the middle of a term can stand for fresh elections but their current tenure will count towards the three-year cooling-off requirement. "This is to avoid any potential abuse," the committee said. "For example, if there were no such bar, an office bearer could resign after two years and nine months, and then claim eligibility to stand at the next election three months later on the ground that a new term would commence."
The definition of an office bearer for the purpose of reforms will not be limited to president, secretary, vice-presidents, treasurer and joint-secretary. If a particular state association's constitution has office bearers such an assistant secretary or a director or an assistant treasurer, such officials will also stand disqualified if they have spent a cumulative nine years in the said office. The Cricket Association of Bengal had reportedly sought the committee's clarification as to whether its treasurer Biswarup Dey's two years as assistant secretary would count towards his cumulative tenure in the association.
"For example, in an association where the constitution refers to the assistant treasurer as an office bearer, if a person has occupied that post for three years and also been secretary for six years, he stands disqualified," the clarification said.