DB asks BCCI to make interim measure till new body elected

24/03/2021

Srinagar, Mar 23: A Division Bench of J&K High Court Comprising Justice Ali Moham-mad Magrey and Justice Puneet Gupta while deciding bunch of petitions relating to J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) affairs, directed to make an interim measure and till a new body of the JKCA is elected under its supervision, run the management, control and administration of the JKCA immediately upon being handed over the same by the CAA.
Division Bench while disposing of the petitions observed that the game of cricket assumes manic proportions in India and is not viewed as being merely a sport or an ordinary amusement activity. It is a national sport that connects the people of India in a unique way. The ground realities of the popularity and reach of the game of cricket in India make for a compelling argument that there is a patent public element involved in the same. However, it surfaced that the BCCI which administers the game of cricket in the country was mired in various controversies, including serious inaction regarding betting and match fixing; frequent amendments to the rules to enable persons in power to perpetuate their control and promote their financial interests; permitting or enabling its office bearers, employees and players to do acts which clearly give rise to conflicts of interest having no resolution mechanism; lack of transparency and accountability; failure to provide effective grievance redressal mechanisms; a general apathy towards wrongdoings, etc.
DB further observed that subsequently, the issue landed before the Supreme Court which, in no uncertain terms, expressed its grave concern about the place at which Indian cricket found itself. It was noticed by the Supreme Court that the cloud over the working of the BCCI has left the followers of the game worried and deeply suspicious about what goes on in the name of the game. It was accordingly observed that the way forward for a sport that is not only a passion, but a great unifying force was to adopt a zero-tolerance approach which can alone satisfy the cry for cleansing. Subse-quently, a Committee, comprising of Justice R. M. Lodha, former Chief Justice of India; Justice Ashok Bhan, former Judge of the Supreme Court; and Justice R.V. Raveendran, former Judge of the Supreme Court, was mandated to examine and make suitable recommendations to the BCCI for reforms in its practices and procedures and necessary amendments in the Memorandum of Associ-ation & Rules & Regulations. This was done keeping in view the sacrosanct object of furthering the interest of public at large in the sport of cricket; improving the ethical standards and discipline in the game; streamlining and creating efficiency in the management of the BCCI; providing accessibility and transparency; preventing conflicts of interest situations; eradicating political interference and abuse and creating mechanisms for resolution of disputes and grievances. The Committee so appointed by the Supreme Court, after holding discussions/ interactions with key stakeholders, aficionados and patrons of the game; including former Captains, International and First-Class players, Coaches, Managers, Admini-strators, Journalists, Talent Scouts, Authors, Lawyers, Club owners, Selectors, etc., found that many ills had become endemic due to the apathy or involvement of those who were at the helm of the BCCI; several incumbents had remained in charge of State associations for several decades; many officials of various State associations hold power without adhering to the basic principles of accountability and transparency by converting them into regional fiefdoms, etc.
DB observed that the BCCI, which is tasked with the overall governing/ controlling of the activities of the game of cricket in India and of which the JKCA is an affiliate member, is in position with its newly approved Constitution, it is the said body which shall be the appropriate authority to answer the above-formulated question in the light of its newly approved Constitution. The BCCI is expected to have all expertise required for answering this question, being the apex body for managing and controlling the activities of the game of cricket in India, including the Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, the BCCI has also filed an application for handing over the affairs of the JKCA to it till such time the elections of the office bearers of the JKCA are conducted under its supervision.
With these observations Division Bench disposed of appeals with the directions that in view of the challenge thrown to the amended Constitution/Memor-andum of Association and Rules and Regulations framed by the CAA of the JKCA, coupled with the contentions raised about the mandate exercised by the CAA as well as the role played by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) nominated by this Court, we, while appreciating the effort and endeavour made by the CAA as well as the CEO, feel that there is no further need of their continuation, as such, the CAA and the CEO of the JKCA appointed by this Court shall stand discontinued.
DB further directed that the BCCI shall, as an interim measure and till a new body of the JKCA is elected under its supervision, run the management, control and administration of the JKCA immediately upon being handed over the same by the CAA.
DB further directed that the BCCI shall, while finalizing the amendment, if any, in the Constitution of the JKCA, in conformity with the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee as approved by the Supreme Court, consult all the stakeholders, including the parties litigating before this Court, i.e., the representatives of the erstwhile clubs of the JKCA as also of the District Cricket Associations now formed by the CAA; and ensure promoting of cricketing activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh in tune with its approved Constitution and at par with other affiliated Associations from various States and Union Territories of the country.
DB further directed the BCCI to ensure that the required infrastructure on ground is improved and made available to the cricketers of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh without waiting for any audit report and shall make every endeavour to ensure that the boys and girls playing the game of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, from different age groups, are provided all facilities to excel in the game of cricket not only on national, but also at international level.
DB further ordered that the BCCI, given the task assigned to it as indicated above, shall be authorized to appoint Committee/ sub-Committee to run, administer, control and supervise the affairs of the JKCA till the elections are held and a body of the JKCA is elected under its supervision, whereafter the administration, control and supervision of the JKCA shall be handed over to the newly elected office bearers of the Association.
DB further directed that the Deputy Commissioner of Jammu as well of Srinagar shall cooperate with the BCCI for ensuring implementation of the aforesaid directions passed in this judgment for any requisitioned assistance. They shall ensure preparation of inventory of movable and immovable property of the JKCA and furnishing the same, alongwith the list of assets and liabilities of JKCA as existing on the date of this judgment, to the BCCI during the course of this week.
DB hope and trust that the aforesaid exercise, assigned to the BCCI, is concluded by the BCCI as expeditiously as possible.

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