Sourav Ganguly has technically completed his present term as the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Going by the present BCCI constitution he needs to demit the office of the board president today, July 27. But will he? As has been the case with the BCCI secretary Jay Shah, whose six-year tenure as an administrator in Indian cricket bodies, State and national clubbed together, was over last month.
There is no certainty on the immediate future of Ganguly and Shah as elected representatives for governance of cricket in the country. The hope hinges on the Supreme Court of India, which will on August 17 will hear the BCCI petition for permission to amend the constitution. The BCCI Apex Council in December last had voted to allow Ganguly and Shah to complete three-year terms as the president and the secretary of the board respectively.
SportzFront has talked to several lawyers involved with the case. No one wants to speak on record but all confessed that the defined principles of law will not permit reinstatement of Ganguly and Shah.
However, neither the Apex Council nor the Apex Court would find it easy to help Ganguly and Shah stay in their respective offices. “As per the BCCI constitution the position of the BCCI secretary and the president have fallen vacant the moment elected representatives have completed their six-year term. The position will have to be filled by an election process within 45 days. The BCCI constitution will not permit Ganguly and Shah to seek a re-election before completing three cooling-off period,” said a senior lawyer.
“Technically Ganguly and Shah have already lost their case for an extension. They are no more in the office if BCCI was thinking of maintaining a status quo.”
“The possibility of getting an extension from the court too has lapsed now. The law empowered court to give extension when the two were in office. Under which law will court re-instate them. The BCCI claim that matter is subjudice is also incorrect technically. The court hasn’t even heard the matter as of now. The matter will hopefully be first heard on August 17 now. We at this stage don’t even know whether the court will accept the application or not.”
The lawyer also termed the Apex Council resolution to grant extension to the duo as bad in law. “The BCCI constitution could only be amended by a vote in the General Body. Court’s permission was mandatory for that. Ganguly and Shah could have got the desired extension only after the amendment. Neither they nor BCCI can defy the constitution under which they have been elected,” stated another lawyer.
“The court was empowered to maintain status quo during the pendency of the case. But it has no power to re-nominate them.”
The decision can only be ratified after the Supreme Court permits the board to amend its constitution. The board was compelled by the Apex Court to redraft its constitution and accommodate Justice Lodha Committee’s recommendations.
The present BCCI laws make it mandatory for the BCCI officers to serve a three-year cooling off period after having been an office-bears at the State or national cricket bodies for two successive terms or six years, whichever is minimum. Ganguly and Shah before their election to the BCCI office have been the Cricket Association of Bengal president and Gujarat Cricket Association joint secretary respectively.
Although there is no interim order on the BCCI plea, the board is expected to maintain status quo on Ganguly on the ground that the matter is pending before the Supreme Court. A similar stance is maintained for Shah, who had attend the Apex Council virtual meeting on July 17. Shah had also circulated the agenda of the meeting on July 4 even though his term had come to an end last month. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) nominee in the Apex Council Alka Rehani Bharadwaj though had questioned Shah’s eligibility to serve the notice and attend the meeting.