The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday (August 16) has filed a review petition at the Supreme Court to challenge the recommendations made by the panel led by former Justice RN Lodha. The Indian cricket board termed the judgement ‘unconstitutional’ and said that the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had ‘a prejudiced approach’ against the board.
The review petition follows legal advice rendered by former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju in his interim report to the Board that the verdict smacked of judicial overreach and was thus unconstitutional.
Earlier last month, the apex court had delivered a landmark judgement when it accepted majority of the recommendations put forth by the Lodha panel – including the age-cap of 70 on board members and the ‘one state, one vote’ recommendation. saying
“The judgement is unconstitutional and contrary to many binding precedents of this Court and adversely affects and nullifies the fundamental rights granted to citizens under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution,” the BCCI plea stated. It also added that “the judgement outsources judicial power to a committee of retired judges, which is impermissible in law.”
“The judgement is a nullity as the judges were functus officio after passing of the main judgment of January 22, 2015 and the matter could not have been revived suo motu as no provision of law empowers the same and is contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers and contrary to settled law that the judiciary cannot make laws,” the plea said.
While deliberating their next move following the judgement, BCCI formed a legal panel – led by retired justice Markandeya Katju – to look into the matters. In his interim report on the recommendations, Katju pointed out that Supreme Court is legislative in its identity and its verdict isn’t binding. “The matter ought to have been forwarded by the Supreme Court with the Lodha committee recommendations to Parliament with its own recommendation. So that Parliament could enact a law if required.
“What the Supreme Court has done is unconstitutional and illegal. There has been violation of principles of the Constitution. Under our Constitution, we have legislature, executive and judiciary. There is a broad separation of functions. It’s the legislature’s prerogative to make laws. If judiciary starts making laws, one is setting a dangerous precedent,” Katju had said in a press conference held earlier this month.
Strengthening his point of view further, Katju had argued that the constitution of the cricket board was formulated according to Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, which means Supreme Court and the panel can’t force the BCCI to amend their laws.
“Both Supreme Court and Lodha committee violated the Tamil Nadu Societies Registrar Act. They have their own Memorandum and by laws. If you want to change the constitution, a special resolution needs to be passed by 2/3rd majority. The society alone can amend the bylaws. There can be complaints on financial irregularities or administrative lapses, one has to write to Registrar of Societies,” Katju stated.
The Lodha committee, that also includes retired Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran, was setup in January 2015 to decide the degree of punishment for those found guilty by the Mudgal report, which looked into the IPL spot-fixing scandal of 2013. Besides this, the three-member panel was also given the responsibility of recommending administrative and structural changes to the BCCI. Complaints against the BCCI should have been filed before the Registrar of Societies, who is the competent authority under the Act.