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Reforms chief slams BCCI after major proposals rejected

Justice RM Lodha, the architect of a major reform process planned for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has hit out at the governing body’s latest move in the process, stating it removes the “vital organs” from his plan.

The BCCI, the most powerful national board in world cricket, has consistently moved to oppose certain proposals in the plan to overhaul its governance. In January 2016, the RM Lodha panel, an independent committee formed by the Supreme Court in January 2015 to look into the implications of the spot-fixing scandal that hit the 2013 Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, delivered its report on the structure of the BCCI.

The reform package was approved by the Supreme Court in July 2016, but has since stalled with the latest development coming in the wake of BCCI special general meeting yesterday (Wednesday). The ESPNCricinfo website said the BCCI decided to accept all but five of the recommendations put forth by the Lodha panel, citing difficulty in implementation. 

However, the proposals rejected are seen to be key ones concerning membership status; disqualification of office bearers, ministers and government officials based on eligibility criteria such as an age cap; length of tenure and cooling-off periods; the formation of a new Apex Council to replace the existing working committee and the strength of the national selection committee.

Following the latest developments, Lodha expressed his frustration in an interview with the Times of India newspaper. “I am shocked to see that the BCCI has rejected all the major reforms again,” Lodha said. “The heart, kidney, lungs are being taken out of these reforms. It's a comprehensive report prepared by the committee and by removing the vital organs, nothing remains in the suggested reforms. I don't know what is happening.”

The BCCI outlined its concerns after the Supreme Court this month indicated it would be open to revising some proposals. Lodha added: “What is the point in deliberating when the verdict is already given by the Supreme Court? I don't understand where is the possibility of changing the recommendations when all the review petitions have been rejected.

“If the BCCI rejects reforms like the powers of the executives and the size of the Apex Council, it means the BCCI is not interested in implementing the reforms at all. I am sure the honourable Supreme Court will take a look at it very soon.”