CoA throws rulebook at state units

BCCI’s electoral officer N Gopalaswami has barred three government institutions — Services, Railways and the Association of Indian Universities — from attending and voting at the cricket board’s October 23 general body meeting. Former IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, too, has been disqualified as the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association’s (UPCA) nominee, with the electoral officer declaring him ineligible, “having not completed cooling-off period”.

Shukla’s disqualification meant the UPCA will have no representation at the BCCI AGM, a fate they share with four other state bodies — Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Maharashtra (all non-compliant) and Manipur (nominee disqualified). But the exclusion of the government institutions threw up a major surprise as the final electoral list was put out on Thursday.

The final electoral roll has pruned the number of representatives at the BCCI AGM from 38 to 30.

According to the electoral officer, the representatives nominated by the government institutions weren’t in accordance with the BCCI constitution. Services, Railways and the Association of Indian Universities didn’t pick former players from their ranks as mandated by the BCCI constitution.

“Rule 3(a)(ii) E, F and G of BCCI rules concerning Services, Universities and Railways has specific provision for nomination to be made by respective players’ association and there is specific prohibition to agencies of the government concerned with these institutions making nomination which happened here,” Gopalaswami informed The Indian Express via email.

Rule 3(a)(ii) E, F and G of the BCCI constitution states that representatives from the Indian Railways and Services “shall be” their former cricketers, elected by an association of former players from the respective organisations. With regards to the Association of Indian Universities, the BCCI constitution states that their representative “shall be a former first- class cricketer who has also represented a University in the All-India Inter University Tournament”.

An association of former players from the institution should nominate the representative. The constitution bars any representative nominated by the government, Railway Sports Promotion Board, Services Sports Control Board and the Association of Indian Universities for the BCCI AGM.

It is learnt that Railways appealed to the electoral officer that their nomination should be accepted this time and in due course they would form a players’ association. But the electoral officer rejected their plea.

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In the draft electoral roll put out on October 4, Rajeev Nayyar was listed as the representative for the Association of Indian Universities, Harvinder Singh was Railways’ nominee, while Services had picked Lieutenant Colonel Sanjai Verma.

According to sources, unlike the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) and Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), for whom the Committee of Administrators (CoA) had recommended disqualification for “non-compliance”, the Supreme Court-appointed panel was actually in favour of the government institutions being given a one-time allowance. But the electoral officer decided to go by the book.

Within the BCCI, though, there’s a feeling that exclusion of the government institutions might result in the matter going before the Supreme Court. Back in January 2017, then Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi had made the representation to the Supreme Court on behalf of Railways, Services and Universities, with regards to the implementation of the Lodha reforms.

Shukla ‘out’ on review

Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association life member Sanjeev Gupta had challenged Shukla’s representation as the UPCA’s nominee, citing among other arguments that Shukla continued to hold the post of IPL chairman till August 21, 2018 and thus needed to serve a cooling-off period till August 20, 2021. It is learnt that the BCCI’s electoral officer had asked for the CoA’s view and the feedback received from the Board’s legal team was that Shukla’s term at the IPL governing council would be counted.

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The Manipur Cricket Association’s nominee, Rajkumar Imo Singh, a sitting MLA, was disqualified “by virtue of holding public office”.

TNCA likely to move court

Meanwhile, the TNCA is set to move court, likely on Monday, challenging the electoral officer’s decision to debar them from attending the BCCI general body meeting. “That’s the decision of our legal team. Our plea before the court will be that we are compliant to everything. We only made a small change (two vice- presidents instead of one) to suit our local needs. This has nothing to do with the (BCCI) election and we should be allowed to participate,” TNCA secretary R Ramasaamy said.