Kolkata: Come September, the focus will be on whether the Sourav Ganguly-Jay Shah regime can continue to be at the helm of BCCI as their three-year term ends ahead of their Annual General Meeting. The suspense continues to be unabated as Supreme Court, under a bench led by N.V. Ramana, Chief Justice of India, on Thursday postponed the hearing of the application of the Indian cricket board which sought a relaxation of the mandatory ‘cooling-off’ period of their officebearers after a six-year term, to July 28.
It was almost after a two-year delay since the BCCI had moved the plea to make amendments to it’s constitution (which was ratified by the apex court in 2018 following the recommendations of Justice R.M.Lodha), the apex court of India had listed the docket on Wednesday - before postponing it by a day. The only new development on Thursday was the court’s appointment of new amicus curiae in senior advocate Maninder Singh. A legal term, ‘amicus curiae’ means an impartial adviser to a court of law in a particular case.
The signficance of the case is almost a no-brainer as not only September 2022 marks the end of a three-year term for the combination of the former Indian captain and Shah, son of India’s Home Minister Amit Shah, it will also have a bearing on if India will stake claim for the president’s chair of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The BCCI, according to informed sources, may nominate either of Ganguly or Shah as the successor to Greg Barclay - the New Zealander whose term ends in November.
‘‘Everything hinges on the decision of the Supreme Court. We have to acknowledge that there is a term for everything,’’ a candid Ganguly remarked during an interview to a regional channel a few days back.
A third senior member of the working committee, BCCI joint secretary Jayesh George, has also served six years as officebearer - first with the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) and then BCCI. ‘‘Yes, I have completed six years but cannot comment as the matter is subjudice,’’ George told Gulf News.
With the deadline approaching for BCCI to decide on the fate of the top brass - what with the AGM round the corner and the Indian board also due to host the ICC World Cup next year, the BCCI approached the Supreme Court on July 15 to expedite their plea which sought six amendments - including that of waiving of the cooling off period. Things took a strange twist when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had on Monday filed an intervention petition before the Supreme Court, opposing the BCCI’s move to tone down the constitution.
Everything hinges on the decision of the Supreme Court. We have to acknowledge that there is a term for everything
The BCCI constitution, as amended by the Supreme Court following the recommendations of the Justice R.M.Lodha Commission meant to be a part of it’s reforms, made it mandatory for an officebearer to go for a cooling-off period of three years on completion of a cumulative period of six years (term in respective state association and cricket board combined).
Ganguly became a joint secretary in his home state Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) in 2014, before taking over as it’s president a year later following the demise of Jagmohan Dalmiya. He took charge of the BCCI as its President in October 2019, with the Covid-19 pandemic striking soon after from February-March next year.
Shah, who became an officebearer of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) in 2013, moved to the BCCI as its secretary along with Ganguly in 2019.
After the Ganguly-Shah duo taking over, the general body of BCCI during a AGM on December 1, 2019, passed a resolution seeking six amendments to it’s constitution. The most significant one was in Rule 6 of the Constitution, which had barred the BCCI and state board officebearers from holding office for more than six years - with the board seeking an exception in case of the president and secretary, respectively.