Why IPL verdict was a superb knock by Justice Lodha
The former CJI did just that when he delivered the historic judgement in the much-heated spot-fixing case.
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Promises these days are made, only to be broken later. But former chief justice of India RM Lodha is a man of his word. Days after being appointed by the Supreme Court as the head of a three-member committee to clean up the BCCI, Justice Lodha had said that he would ensure transparency and accountability was the rule and not the exception in the administration of cricket in India.
And he did just that on Tuesday when he not only banned Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra for their involvement in spot-fixing/betting, but also suspended them from any activities in the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years.
Given six months to get to the bottom of the mess, the feeling was that Justice Lodha and his team would follow the general protocol of playing it safe and make the duo of Meiyappan and Kundra pay while the two teams would be let off with fines. But the Lodha committee did play it fair. In fact, it was a historic judgement considering the fact that till last year, it seemed as if having CSK next to it would help even RR escape easy because CSK after all was owned by none other than then BCCI chief N Srinivasan.
But the power corridor has changed and the same Srinivasan who tormented one and all is now lying helpless as the likes of Jagmohan Dalmiya and Anurag Thakur are calling the shots within the board. In fact, the BCCI isn't even thinking of questioning the decision of the Lodha committee - a scenario unheard of during the Srinivasan regime.
The board has made it clear they will abide by every word spelled out by the committee.
And now, all eyes will be strictly on the governing council (GC) meeting in Mumbai on July 19. Generally it is the working committee meeting of the board that attracts a lot of attention, but this time round, it is the IPL GC that will have every cricket fan in the country waiting with bated breath. Not only will there be a decision on whether the BCCI should indeed invited fresh bidders to bring in two new franchises or manage the two teams themselves, but also the fate of the players of the two suspended teams will be up for discussion.
While the general feeling within the board is that all the players - barring four players retained by each franchise - should be thrown into the pool and a fresh auction conducted, there is also a group which feels that the momentum built by the other teams over the years would then be lost as the nucleus will be broken.
Interestingly, Justice Lodha has said the BCCI can terminate the two suspended teams if they want. "It is for the BCCI to consider terminating the teams and the Supreme Court judgement is clear on that. The BCCI can do that. We have been appointed as a disciplinary committee and (Clause) 11.3 deals with contractual obligation and that has to be dealt by the BCCI, so we can't go into it," he stated.
Clause 11.3 (c) of the BCCI-IPL franchise agreement says the agreement can be terminated if the franchise, any franchise group company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the league, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the franchise, the team (or any other team in the league) and/or the game of cricket.