NEW DELHI: In the hearing that will effectively decide the future of cricket administration in the country, India’s Supreme Court has removed Anurag Thakur as president of the BCCI with a showcause notice issued in regards to charges of perjury and contempt of court. Anurag Thakur has until January 19 to reply to the Supreme Court’s charges, as does Ajay Shirke, the BCCI secretary.
The Justice RM Lodha Committee’s recommendations for a revamp of the BCCI were also taken into serious consideration, with the SC disqualifying all the board and its state association office bearers who have failed to meet the new norms set by the panel. The SC will replace the top brass of the BCCI with a new panel of administrators, also to be decided on January 19.
“The Supreme Court passes an order directing the BCCI president and secretary to desist from any board functions from hereon,” said the ruling.
The bench, led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, had in the previous hearing on December 15 threatened to initiate perjury charges against Anurag Thakur for allegedly lying about asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to term the Lodha reforms as governmental interference. During that hearing, Subramaniam told then Chief Justice of India TS Thakur that Anurag Thakur had lied on oath to the SC, having written in his affidavit that he had sought Shashank Manohar’s opinion as ICC chairman. Subramanian argued that since Manohar had denied Anurag Thakur by saying that the question had been posed during an ICC meeting, the BCCI president had tried to obstruct the reform process.
The SC appointed senior advocates Fali S Nariman and Gopal Subramaniam as amicus curiae and asked them to suggest the names of those deemed capable of administering the BCCI.
Welcoming the hearing, retired Justice Lodha said: “The reforms were laid down on July 18, BCCI was bound to follow it but they didn’t. Hence consequences had to follow. This was to happen, and now this has happened. Had submitted three reports before Supreme court, even then it wasn’t implemented. Once [the] committee’s reforms were accepted by the SC in its July 18 order, it had to be implemented, this is logical consequence. It’s a victory for the game of cricket. Administrators will come and go and I am sure the game will flourish.”
The three-member Lodha Committee had been appointed by the SC in 2015 to recommend reforms to the BCCI and all its affiliated state-level cricket associations. This had come in the aftermath of the match fixing scandal in the IPL that saw two teams banned from the league for two years.