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BCCI Vs Subramanian Swamy: BJP MP Opposes Indian Cricket Board's Bid To Amend Constitution

The case is significant for the Indian cricket board as it directly relates to the tenures of president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.

Subramaniam Swamy had also claimed that IPL 2022 was 'rigged' and termed Jay Shah as BCCI's 'de facto dictator'.
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Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday filed an application for impleadment in the Supreme Court in the protracted BCCI constitution case. (More Cricket News)

The move came three days after the BCCI sought an urgent hearing to its plea, seeking permission to amend its constitution, in the apex court. The case is significant for the Indian cricket board as it directly relates to the tenures of its top two office bearers, president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah.

Opposing the application filed by the Indian cricket board, Subramanian Swamy said that BCCI's proposed amendments would "close window on transparency" and would "concentrate authority in vested personal interests".

Representing the Indian cricket board, senior advocate PS Patwalia on Friday (July 15) told a bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana that the BCCI's application was filed two years ago. The other members of the three-judge bench are Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli.

"The application was filed two years ago in April 2020. There were directions for listing it after two weeks, but then COVID came and the matter could not be listed. The amendments are in pipeline for two years," Patwalia pleaded.

"We will see if we can take it up next week," CJI Ramana replied. And it was reported that the BCCI case is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court on Wednesday (July 20). [Update: The case has been listed for Wednesday morning]

It's worth noting that on April 16 last year, a bench headed by Justice LN Rao (now retired) had adjourned the case after the amicus curiae, senior advocate PS Narasimha (now a Supreme Court judge), sought time to compile the submissions of various lawyers.

Cooling-off period

In its application to the Supreme Court, the BCCI has sought six major changes in its constitution. The tenure of its office-bearers is one of them. 

And many believed that it's all about the cooling-off period for obvious reasons. The BCCI wants to revise this rule in its new constitution which mandates that office-bearers must go through a three-year cooling-off period after six successive years in the BCCI or any state cricket association.

Here's the original recommendation of the Lodha panel on the cooling-off period:

"An office bearer who has held any post for two consecutive terms either in a state association or in the BCCI (or a combination of both) shall not be eligible to contest any further election without completing a cooling-off period of three years. During the cooling off period, such an office bearer shall not be a member of the Governing Council or of any committee whatsoever of the BCCI or of a state association. The expression 'office bearer' should not be permitted to be circumvented by being a member of any other committee or of the Governing Council in BCCI or any state association, as the case may be."

And here's BCCI's proposed rule:

“A President or Secretary who has served in such position for two consecutive terms in the BCCI shall not be eligible to contest any further election without completing a cooling off period of three years. During the cooling off period, such 'Office bearer' shall not be a member of the Governing Council or of any committee whatsoever of the BCCI. The expression ‘President’ or ‘Secretary' should not be permitted to be circumvented by being a member of any other committee or of the Governing Council in BCCI as the case may be.”

Ganguly-Shah's position

If the amendment in the constitution is allowed, it would enable Ganguly and Shah to continue in their respective posts for at least another three years.

Ganguly, is a former India captain, while Shah is the son of Union home minister Amit Shah.

According to the new BCCI constitution, both Ganguly and Shah have already finished their terms as office-bearers. While Shah's tenure ended in May, Ganguly finished his innings on July 27. They were unanimously elected by the BCCI in October 2019.

Previously, Ganguly was an office bearer in the Cricket Association of Bengal, while Shah had served in the Gujarat Cricket Association.

Swamy's IPL Claim

After Gujarat Titans beat Rajasthan Royals to win the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 in their debut season, the former Rajya Sabha MP claimed that the world's biggest T20 cricket league was "rigged" and termed Jay Shah as "de facto dictator of BCCI".

"There is widespread feeling in intelligence agencies that the Tata IPL Cricket outcomes were rigged,” Swamy wrote on Twitter.

"It may require a probe to clear the air for which PIL may be necessary since Govt will not do it as Amit Shah’s son is defacto dictator of BCCI,” he added.

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