Ever since the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has, in principle, agreed to the recommendations of the Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee, there’s been an avalanche of varying opinions among its officials for the last couple of weeks.
There are those within the association who believe the MCA - one of the richest state bodies - has been guilty of bringing this upon itself, thereby hurtling towards a potential scenario where it may find its 86-year-old history rewritten very soon.
The MCA has decided to follow the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) line – a confrontationist’s one - in dealing with the Lodha recommendations and restrain itself at an individual level from appealing in the SC against the order. In doing so, the association whose estates can be valued at close to Rs. 500 crore, has failed to take into account that the BCCI has clearly found itself riding on misplaced strategies.
In his comments to the draft minutes of the MCA’s constitution sub-committee, a senior administrator points out a few discrepancies in the BCCI’s stance. “There was no need for BCCI to take the confrontationist attitude because that would not help, but on the contrary harden the attitude of the judiciary. There is a fair bit of confusion in what the recommendations list out and what the SC order says.
“The SC judgment uses the word ‘government servant’, ‘public servant’ and ‘civil servant’ inter-changeably . There is no clarification yet on what they (judiciary) mean. For instance, all government servants are public servants, but all public servants are not necessarily government servants. The Lodha recommendations only talks of government servants,” the official pointed.
Further, there is ambiguity over what the Lodha committee means when it says “those who are ‘charged’ with penal law should be disqualified. “In the Lodha panel recommendations, this disqualification is absent in Rule 14. In our jurisprudence, only those who are ‘convicted’ of a crime are disqualified. There is a lot of scope for mischief in this,” the official adds.
The MCA managing committee has steadfastly refused to raise these points, instead waiting for BCCI to take the first step forward. This, in turn, has made way for quite a bit of hearsay in the association that its own officials have failed to understand what the Lodha committee has recommended in the first place.
The MCA, by way of its estates, is big enough that if listed as a public company would rank among the top 700 companies in the country. It is appalling enough already that most who run an association this huge are hardly qualified to do so. “MCA administrators occupy posts through an eight-year cycle. Which means, for eight years you can serve as a joint secretary; next eight years as honrary secretary; eight years as treasurer; then vice-president and so on. That means, for 40 years, you’ve stuck to some chair or the other. What will Lodha do if not recommend that you be thrown out?” the official points out, adding that what the association has lacked is its own share of clarity on what needs to be done.