Vinod Rai backs PSB merger, calls it ‘good move’ by govt

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) on Tuesday barred the BCCI/state association members above 70 years of age from attending the AGMs as representatives of their respective affiliated units. The ‘disqualified’ members, as per the BCCI/state association constitution, cannot be part of any committee/council as well. The majority of the state associations, though, remain defiant, deciding to go by the apex court’s September 20 order until a fresh court directive is issued.

The CoA, in its advisory on Tuesday, directed the state associations and their respective electoral officers not to “re-amend” their constitutions other than incorporating the relaxation granted by the Supreme Court in their election procedure. The apex court in its September 20 order directed that disqualification in state associations’ elections would be restricted only to those who had held the position of office-bearers.

Simply put, in light of the Supreme Court order, if a member has served nine or more years as a working/managing/executive committee member, without holding any office, in a state association, he/she is eligible to contest for an office-bearer post. But, as according to the CoA advisory, other restrictions stand, if a member is disqualified as per the BCCI/state association constitution, he/she cannot be part of any committee or attend meetings.

On Monday, the CoA had filed an application before the court, seeking certain clarifications on the September 20 order. Today, the court heard the matter again and accordingly the CoA issued the advisory.

“A state association cannot nominate as its representative anybody who is disqualified as per the BCCI constitution. I waited for it (today’s Supreme Court hearing) and only after the discussion took place, we issued the advisory,” CoA chairman Vinod Rai told The Indian Express.

“The State Associations who have not brought their constitutions in line with the BCCI Constitution run the risk of their election results not being recognised,” stated the CoA advisory.

The BCCI constitution says a person “shall be disqualified” from being an office-bearer/councilor/committee member if, among others, he/she has “attained the age of 70 years” or “holds a public office”… Also, if someone has hold office for six years on the spin, he/she needs to go for a mandatory three-year cooling-off period.

According to a former state association president, going by the spirit of the Lodha Committee recommendations, approved by the Supreme Court, members above 70 years of age shouldn’t represent any affiliated unit at the AGMs.

State associations defiant

Some state associations, however, remain defiant. “Unless and until it’s a Supreme Court order, we won’t accept it. We don’t know whether it’s heard or not. Until we get an official order from the court, we can’t do anything. The past (September 20) Supreme Court order is very clear. The CoA has issued many directives that have been turned down by the court,” a state association office-bearer told this paper.

It would be interesting to see how the electoral officers interpret the latest CoA advisory. The Cricket Association of Bengal’s (CAB) electoral officer Sushanta Ranjan Upadhaya, for example, had barred members above 70 years of age from representing their respective affiliated units at the state association’s September 28 AGM. “Affiliated Members shall ensure that their representative so nominated on their behalf should not be disqualified to become an Office Bearer or a Councilor of CAB in terms of the CAB Constitution,” the election procedure had said.

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The electoral officer relaxed it and allowed members above 70 years of age to attend the AGM as representatives after the September 20 court order. Following the CoA advisory today, Upadhaya told this paper that he would take “legal opinion tomorrow” before putting out the list of representation.

BCCI elections on Oct 23

Meanwhile, in view of the Assembly polls in Maharashtra and Haryana, the CoA has deferred the BCCI elections by a day and it would now be held on October 23. Deadline for state associations to complete their election process has been extended to October 4. “… in order to facilitate and secure compliance by various State Associations and for conduct of elections in the member State Associations in accordance with the judgment dated 18th July 2016 and 9th August, 2018 and any further order and judgement that the Hon’ble Supreme Court may be pleased to pass, the COA hereby extends the date for completion of election by member State Associations to 4th October, 2019. Further, the date of BCCI election is extended by one day in view of the voting in the Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana on 21st October, 2019. Accordingly, the election date for BCCI stands postponed to 23rd October, 2019,” the CoA advisory stated.