New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday sought an early hearing of its plea seeking an extension of the current tenure of the apex cricketing body’s president Saurav Ganguly and its secretary Jay Shah as both of them have completed six-year terms as cricket administrators and are overdue for the mandatory three-year cooling off period.
Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, heading a bench also comprising Justice Krishna Murari, said, "will see" if the matter can be heard next week as senior advocate P.S. Patwalia mentioned the matter for an early hearing.
The BCCI has sought a one-time waiver of the provision of the cricketing body’s constitution to permit both Mr Ganguly and Mr Shah to continue as president and secretary respectively, even after they have already completed six years of continuous run as the state and the apex cricketing bodies
The petition seeking extension of tenure was filed nearly two years back and on the last occasion on December 9, 2020. The court had said that it would hear the matter in January 2021, but it was not listed.
Mr Ganguly, before becoming BCCI president on October 23, 2019, was the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal since 2015. Prior to becoming the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal in 2015, he was joint secretary of the state cricket association from July 2014. His six-year term as cricket administrator both in Bengal and at the national level ended on July 26, 2020.
Mr Shah became the joint secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) in September 2013. He stepped down in September 2019 and went on to become BCCI secretary in October 2019.
As per the BCCI constitution and August 9, 2018 top court judgment, both Mr Ganguly and Mr Shah should have proceeded for a cooling off period of three years after completing a continuous six years run as cricket administrators both in their respective states and in the BCCI.
The top court by its August 9, 2018, judgment while approving BCCI constitution had said, "In our view, it would be appropriate to direct that a cooling off period of three years would apply after an individual holds two successive terms in office either in the BCCI, or in any state association or a combination of the two. For instance, if an office bearer has held office for two consecutive terms in any post in a state association, such an individual must face a cooling off period of three years. Likewise, if an individual has held any post as an office bearer of the BCCI for a total period of six years in succession, the individual must have a cooling off period of three years before seeking election again either to the BCCI or to a state association. The cooling off period would apply also in a situation where an individual holds a post for one term in a state association followed by a post in the BCCI successively or vice versa. This would ensure that after a period of six years involving two consecutive terms, a cooling off period would be attracted."
Authoring the judgment on behalf of a bench comprising then Chief Justice Dipak Misra (since retired) and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y.Chandrachud had said, "Allowing an individual to act as an office bearer for six years in continuation is a sufficiently long period for experience and knowledge gained to be deployed in the interest of the game without at the same time resulting in a monopoly of power."
Dismissing all arguments against the mandatory cooling off period, Justice Chandrachud had said, "We are of the view that a cooling off period should be observed. A cooling off period has several features which are of utmost importance: (i) it is a safeguard against the development of vested personal interests; (ii) it ensures against the concentration of power in a few hands; (iii) it facilitates a dispersal of authority; and (iv) it encourages the generation of a wider body of experienced administrators. Cooling off must be accepted as a means to prevent a few individuals from regarding the administration of cricket as a personal turf. The game will be better off without cricketing oligopolies."