The presence of Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah in the offices of the Board of Control for Cricket beyond the completion of their respective constitutional mandate will be in breach of the BCCI constitution.
The very constitution, under which they were elected to BCCI, does now allow any office-bearer to serve more than two successive terms, not exceeding six years, either in the State administrative body, the BCCI or jointly in both. Thus, on completion of the said six-year period both Ganguly and Shah cease to be the office-bearers in the BCCI. Their presence in the board is “illegal” thereafter.
If the BCCI decides to continue with them, “they will be now illegally occupying the office”, said noted legal consultant Rahul Mehra, who specialises in sports legal matters.
The BCCI Apex Council has resolved in December last year that Ganguly and Shah should be allowed to complete their three-year term in the BCCI. Subsequently, the board has also sought an approval from the Supreme Court to amend the BCCI constitution and make provision to separate the office-bearers’ terms in the State bodies and the national governing body for the purpose of the mandatory cooling off period.
The BCCI constitution makes it mandatory for the office-bearers to take a three-year break after being an elected representative for two terms or six years, whichever is earlier. The constitution also states that the BCCI General Body cannot amend the board’s constitution without getting consent from the Supreme Court.
The BCCI application is yet to come for hearing in the Apex Court. The application tough listed for August 17 at this stage cannot even be termed subjudice since “the court has not even taken cognizance of the matter,” says Mehra and adds that “the court can very well allow them to amend the constitution. But that stage has not come as yet”.
Mehra, a strong voice for sports reforms, however, feels that the court should not let the BCCI interfere with its revised constitution. “Once the predecessor courts have looked into and gone into it in detail, the (Supreme) court shouldn’t allow them to dilute the reform process at all. But if the court wants otherwise, it is in its jurisdiction.
“It’s been a long-drawn reforms process over many years and hopefully this bench in no way will dilute the reforms, which have already been undertaken. In fact it should further strengthen the reforms.”
Going by to the rule book, court is not mandated to reinstate an office-bearer once he is out of the BCCI. In such a scenario, even if the Apex Council succeeds in amending the constitution, both Ganguly and Shah will have to seek a fresh mandate from the BCCI electorate. Unless, of course, the board’s team of counsellors has some other trick up its sleeves.