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BCCI office-bearers can have two terms before cool-off period

BySandeep Patel

Sep 14, 2022
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The Supreme Court on September 14 held that the three-year cooling-off period for BCCI office-bearers will kick in only after they complete two consecutive terms in the apex cricket body.

Similarly, office-bearers of State cricket associations need to cool off only after serving two successive terms.

However, a State association office-bearer need not undergo the three-year hibernation if he or she wants to contest a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) election. The cooling-off period will not apply to someone who wants to go up a notch and fight the BCCI election immediately after his or her second term in a State association.

That is, the cooling-off period kicks in only at the particular levels. In short, a person who has completed two consecutive terms in the BCCI should cool off before trying for a third in the Board. A person who has finished two back-to-back tenures in office at a State association should take a three-year breather before contesting for a third time in that State association.

Earlier, an office-bearer who had completed a term in a State association and another in the BCCI had to comply with the cooling-off period requirement.

A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli said the modification did not take away the “rationale” behind the court having imposed the cooling-off period, that is, to prevent an office-bearer from growing vested interests by occupying a position of power in a cricketing body for a long period.

The relaxation in the cooling-off period has paved the way for BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Sh ah to contest elections for a second term in October 2022.

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The ‘cooling-off period’ was a major recommendation made by the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee to reform cricket administration in the country.

In its 2018 judgment, the apex court had seen eye-to-eye with Justice Lodha’s conclusion that “the game will be better off without cricketing oligopolies”.

For this end, the court had supported the recommendation of the Justice Lodha panel that cricket administrators should undergo a “cooling-off period” before contesting elections to the BCCI or State associations.

Other modifications

On September 14, the court accepted other modifications to the BCCI Constitution, including lifting the bar on office-bearers having posts in other sports bodies.

The Bench pointed out that many eminent sportspersons patronise other sports and were part of other sports associations.

“Existing cricketers of eminence have been associated with other sports. There is no need to disqualify them for that,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The court also removed the disqualification on office-bearers who have been charged with criminal offences. The BCCI had pleaded that disqualification should only kick in after they are convicted and sentenced of the crime. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that many of these prosecutions could even turn out to be frivolous at the end. The court agreed.

The court also agreed that disqualification from being an office-bearer should be restricted to government Ministers and public servants.

“The amendments proposed by the BCCI do not detract from the basic purposes/objects of the Supreme Court judgment. Amendments proposed are permitted to be effected,” the court ordered.



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