Mains Paper 2: Polity | Statutory, regulatory & various quasi-judicial bodies
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not much
Mains level: Judicial interventions in various regulatory bodies administration and results of these interventions
SC’s final verdict on reforms
- The Supreme Court has now extended some concessions to those aggrieved by the rigorous rules of BCCI reforms
- This is two years after accepting the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee’s recommendations, which aimed to revamp cricket administration in the country
Cooling off period relaxed
- The most significant change concerns the cooling-off period prescribed for office-bearers before they are allowed to contest for a subsequent term
- Against the panel’s view that every office-bearer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, in the national board or in a State association, should have a three-year break after a three-year term, the court has now allowed two three-year terms — that is, a tenure of six years — before the mandatory break kicks in
- The logic behind a cooling-off period is that office-bearers should not be given lengthy tenures that enable them to establish personal fiefdoms
- The argument against it is that the experience and knowledge that office-bearer gains over three years should not be frittered away, and a second term could help consolidate such learnings
- Given that there is a nine-year aggregate limit as well as an age limit of 70 for any office-bearer, this change may not amount to any significant dilution of the core principle that there should be no perpetuation of power centres
One state one vote norm overruled
- The Lodha panel had also favoured the ‘one State, one vote’ norm
- This meant that an association representing a State alone should be recognised as a voting member of the BCCI, while associations representing a region within a State or entities that do not represent a territory should not have the same vote or status
- In this change, the court has accepted the reasoning that associations that had contributed significantly to Indian cricket need not be stripped of their full membership
- Judicial intervention has been immensely helpful in making cricket administration more efficient and professional and addressing the credibility deficit of recent times
- The changes adopted by the court while finalising a new constitution for the BCCI differ in significant ways from what was proposed by the Lodha committee but are pragmatic in nature and would lead to healthy governance of cricket in India
Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Money-laundering & its prevention
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Not Much
Mains level: The newscard highlights the possible social implications by regulating small amount gambling by poor sections of society in the ambit of regulating Betting and Gambling completely.
Dissent over Social Implications of Betting
- The Law Commission has answered a question which has lingered in debate for decades, and found that it would be desirable to open sports to betting, with the caveat that it must be regulated.
- It has also respected the public will, insisting that this is a political decision for Parliament to thrash out.
- Indeed, gambling cannot be imposed on a morally sensitive public, and implementation could prove to be difficult.
- It would be useful to gauge the public mood through its representatives in advance.
Logic behind Legalizing
- The theoretical logic for opening up betting is well-known and has been supported by the commission as it is a common-sense position
- Legalisation would generate jobs and revenues for the government, and regulation would help contain financial crime.
- Unless betting is legalized, it will persist underground in a completely unregulated form, a fact that the Constituent Assembly was seized of.
- It will continue to excite the interest of fixers and mafias, will ensure the criminal intimidation of players, and remain a conduit for money of questionable colour.
Betting, not Fixing to be permitted
- The commission has rightly suggested the criminalisation of fixing, with significant legal deterrence, and undescored the need for betting to be allowed only under the control of the state.
- State governments must ensure that illegal betting, which flourishes on street corners and on the phone network, is suppressed.
Betting Vs Small Gambling
- The attempt to segregate “proper betting” for high stakes from “small gambling” by the poor may not survive scrutiny.
- The suggestion is well-intentioned and would protect the economically weaker sections, but disbarring from participation all players who get subsidies or do not pay taxes may violate the principle of equality of access.
- Persuasion may prove to be a more suitable protector of the vulnerable than such segregation.
- Bringing betting overground is an economically and socially desirable objective.
- But as the commission has said, it must be operated strictly within the purview of the law.
- Putting part of the population beyond its pale would keep a section of the business underground, defeating the purpose of the reform.
Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Money-laundering & its prevention
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Law Commission, Articles 249 & 252 of the Constitution
Mains level: Gambling market in India and its linkages with organized crime
Suggestion to legalize gambling
- The Law Commission has recommended that gambling and betting on sports, including cricket, be allowed as regulated activities taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI)
- The commission’s report, “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India”, recommends a number of changes in the law for regulating betting and generating tax revenues from it
- Parliament may also enact a model law for regulating gambling that may be adopted by the states
- In the alternative, Parliament may legislate in the exercise of its powers under Articles 249 or 252 of the Constitution
- In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same
- The commission has recommended linking Aadhar or PAN card of an individual indulging in betting and gambling, and making the transaction cashless to regulate illegal activities such as money laundering
- The commission has also recommended amending the laws regulating forex and India’s FDI policy to allow investments in the casino and online gaming industry
- Allowing FDI in the industry would bring substantial amounts of investment to those states that decide to permit casinos, propelling the growth of the tourism and hospitality industries
- It will also enable such states to generate higher revenue and employment opportunities
- Who: Former CJI R.M. Lodha-led SC committee
- What: It reiterated its recommendation to remove office-bearers who are 70 years old
- And also Ministers and those who have already served at the Board’s helm for nine years
- This was its third report filed in the apex court, and the panel reiterated that the SC had upheld its recommendations in a July 18, 2016 judgment
- It said the time has come to implement them so that work on reforming the Board could go ahead
- The panel sought the disqualification of the following: BCCI office bearers who are not Indian citizens
- Those who hold any office or post in a sports or athletic association or federation apart from cricket
- Those declared insolvent or of unsound mind and administrators charged with a crime
- Case in SC: Charges were levelled by the BCCI that the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee had exceeded its brief and was trying to “run cricket” in India
- Decision: The SC dismissed these charges
- The BCCI had argued that while the July 18 judgment of the apex court gave the BCCI a six-month window to implement the changes, the Lodha panel chopped it to just two months
- SC View: The Lodha Committee was given full authority to fix specific timelimits
- SC closed shut the funding of the 25 State associations of the BCCI, barring them from using the board’s funds till they accept the Justice Lodha Committee reforms in ‘letter and spirit’
- In case the associations continue to resist the Lodha reforms, the money disbursed to them would be invested in fixed deposit accounts until they change their minds
- Earlier, SC had warned that there would be no domestic cricket matches if the BCCI and its members do not fall in line with the Lodha Committee reforms
- Context: A newly constituted Special Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud on BCCI issue
- What? It will hear Lodha Committee’s recommendation to oust the entire top brass of the cash-rich cricket body
- Why oust? For blatant violations of the July 18 Supreme Court judgment directing them to implement the panel’s recommendations for transparency in cricket administration
- Background: BCCI thinks they are a law unto themselves. Fall in line or else we will make you- Chief Justice Thakur had warned BCCI earlier
- Overreach: According to former Justice Katju, the Supreme Court has over-reached itself and indulged in judicial legislation
- It was also unmindful of the fact that there are several larger Bench decisions prohibiting the same
- The order is legislative in nature and could not have been passed validly by the Court
- SC could have no doubt forwarded the Lodha Committee’s recommendations to Parliament with their own recommendation that they be enacted as a law by Parliament
- However, to direct itself that the recommendations be implemented is clearly a legislative act not within the court’s domain
- On Lodha Committee: It was only mandated to examine and make suitable recommendations to the BCCI for such reforms in its practices and procedures and such amendments to the memorandum of association, rules and regulations as may be considered necessary
- Instead, the Lodha Committee sent its recommendations to the Supreme Court
- Context: BCCI reforms conundrum
- News: Former Justice Markandey Katju lashed out at the Supreme Court and its committee led by the former Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha
- Reason: The intention to clean up cricket may be good, but it cannot be done by throwing the law to the winds
- Law to the winds: The SC judgment on BCCI to implement suggested reforms has not only violated the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act but also the Constitution
- Background: Justice Katju was appointed by the BCCI to head a four-member panel to advise and guide it on the July 18 Supreme Court verdict
- SC verdict: Asked BCCI to implement the Lodha Committee’s recommendations in six months to overhaul the cricket body to usher in accountability
- 1 person should hold 1 post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest
- There should be a players’ association in the BCCI
- Reforms not accepted: Parliament to decide whether the functioning of the BCCI can be brought under RTI as recommended by the Lodha panel
- Also, Parliament will be deciding on whether to legalise betting in cricket or not
- News: The Supreme Court accepted major recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
- Reforms accepted: Ministers and civil servants and those above 70 are not allowed to become BCCI members
- BCCI will have a CAG nominee – scrapped all other administrative committees in the BCCI after the CAG nominee comes in
- Members will have a 3-year term with a cooling-off period between 2 successive terms
- One-State-One-vote recommendation was accepted – states that have more than 1 cricket association (Maharashtra, Gujarat) will have voting rights on a rotational basis
- News: The Supreme Court clarified to the BCCI that the CJI R.M. Lodha Committee never recommended barring politicians from holding posts in the Board
- Clarification: The committee report only suggested a ban on government servants and ministers donning the role of cricket administrators
- Rationale: Politicians as a category cannot be barred, there is a politician in everyone
- News: SC asks BCCI was against Lodha panel’s recommendation to have a nominee from the CAG office on board
- BCCI’s Argument: SC is crossing judicial limits to interfere in its private affairs like internal management, flow of finances and membership patterns
- Significance: The apex court said the Lodha Committee recommendations was meant to help the Board perform its public functions in the best way
- Context: Justice Lodha Committee recommendations, which suggested big-reforms in cricket
- News: SC said that it would not allow delay in the much-needed reforms to usher purity back into Indian cricket
- The court also questioned cricket administrators holding simultaneous memberships in both the BCCI and State bodies
- Challenge: BCCI has many complaints with the recommendations of Lodha committee
Read more about Lodha Committee Report
The court gives BCCI time till March 3 to respond to the Justice Lodha panel report.
- Describing the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee report on overhaul of BCCI as straightforward, rational and understandable
- The SC sternly advised the cricket body to “fall in line” with the recommendations and save itself further trouble
- These recommendations deserve respect. They have come from the most respected members of the legal community, Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said
- The “impediments” which would visit the Board, starting with how BCCI would even lose its registration under the Tamil Nadu Registration Act
- The Lodha committee has urged lawmakers to legalise betting in cricket for all except cricket players, officials and administrators.
- It recommended that a 9-member apex council replace the present 14-member BCCI working committee.
- Govt. servants, ministers should be banned from holding BCCI posts.
- Each of the office-bearers shall have a 3-year term and can contest for a maximum 3 terms.
- There will be a mandatory cooling-off period after each term.
- The report may change the destiny of the game and its administration for the better.
- The report is expected to reveal a mechanism to deal with conflict of interest situations, recommend measures to streamline BCCI elections.
- It will fix eligibility of candidates and criteria for disqualification and any other recommendations it sees fit in the BCCI functioning.
- The committee was set up by the apex court to usher in reforms in the BCCI, whose decision would be binding on the BCCI.
Lodha Committee Report: Restoring the glory of the game
To put an end to excesses and imbalances, corruption and red tape, all of which have harmed the game, the Lodha committee has examined reforms in the working of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to make its functioning transparent.
What is the Lodha committee?
The Lodha committee was formed in January, 2015 by the Supreme Court after the Mudgal committee report on IPL.
In its earlier report in July 2015, the Lodha committee delivered its judgement by banning Meiyappan and Kundra for life and suspending the owners of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for 2 years.
Let’s analyse the report under various dimensions
The Lodha Committee has suggested sweeping reforms in the structuring and governance of cricket in the country.
Structural Reforms: A major overhaul
- The committee recommended that a 9-member apex council replace the 14-member BCCI working committee.
- Each of these office-bearers has a three-year term and can contest for a maximum three terms.
- The Lodha Committee also calls for dividing the governance into two parts: cricketing and non-cricketing.
The non-cricketing management will be handled by 6 professional managers headed by a CEO, and the cricket matters like selection, coaching and performance evaluation should be left to the players
Organisation & Office-bearers: Restrictions imposed
- Each of these office-bearers has a 3-year term and can contest for a maximum three terms.
- There will be a mandatory cooling off period after each term. Therefore, no office-bearer can hold office consecutively in a row.
- No BCCI office-bearer can be Minister or government servant.
State Cricket Associations: One Vote/State
The Committee recommended that one association should represent an entire state and only one vote per state.
Indian Premier League: Maintain distance
- It recommends separate governing bodies for the IPL and BCCI.
- There should be a 15-day gap between IPL season and national calender.
Betting: Legalize it
- It made a strong recommendation to lawmakers to legalise betting in cricket for all except cricket players, officials and administrators.
- The players and others banned officials should disclose their assets to BCCI in a measure to ensure that they do not bet.
Betting is a $ 400 billion phenomenon practised across the globe and lawmakers in India should enact laws to legalise it.
Fixing: Criminalize it
The committee said that match-and spot-fixing should be made a criminal offence.
Conflict of Interest & Corruption
- One individual hold only one post in cricket administration. The office-bearers would have to choose between positions in respective state associations and the parent body.
- A former High Court judge should be appointed as ethics officer by the BCCI to administer issues relating to conflict of interest, misdemeanour and corruption.
- A former Supreme Court judge should be appointed ombudsman to resolve internal disputes.
Transparency: Bringing RTI to BCCI
It recommended that the Legislature must seriously consider bringing BCCI within the purview of the RTI Act
Securing player’s interest
- It recommended the setting up of a Players’ Association to safeguard the interests of the cricketers.
- The report said players that are the driving force of the game, but they had been reduced to the status of employees and subordinates of those governing the game.
- The idea is to give players voice, use their expertise and skills for the development and betterment of the game
Women Cricket: Often ignored by BCCI
The Women’s Cricket Committee to be formed to exclusively pay attention to this much ignored department, along with Women’s Selection Committee.
The proposed measures could radically alter the way the BCCI functions as well as vastly improve its public image and impart much-needed credibility.
Published with inputs from Pushpendra