After a long wait of 18 years, Bihar will return to domestic cricket tournaments when it will play the Ranji Trophy in September this year. Amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium told this to the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud in the course of the hearing of a contempt plea filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar. Bihar did not get any opportunity to participate in any of the domestic cricket tournaments after the formation of Jharkhand on November 15, 2000, when it lost its cricketing headquarter at Jamshedpur to Jharkhand. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said that Bihar could not be accommodated in the domestic circuit because the domestic season had ended by the time the court had passed its January 4 order.
The top court had on January 4 this year had said that Bihar will play the Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments under the aegis of the Bihar Cricket Association (BCA).
The court had passed its January 4 order after Alok Verma of the Cricket Association of Bihar told the court that ever since the formation of Jharkhand on November 15, 2000, following the bifurcation of the state, Bihar did not get any opportunity to participate in Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy or any other domestic tournament.
The court on Tuesday asked all the state affiliates of the BCCI to give their further suggestions on the draft constitution of the apex cricketing body that incorporate the directions given by it and the recommendations of the Justice Lodha Committee.
Suggestions will also be given by three top BCCI members C.K. Khanna, Amitabh Chaudhary and Anirudh Chaudhry.
The court gave them three days time to submit their suggestions to amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium, who in turn will submit to the court when its hears the matter on May 11.
The court made it clear that the draft constitution that will be finalised and cleared by it will not be debated as the same would be treated as final.
The Committee of Administrators managing the cricket affairs on the directions of the top court had last year submitted the draft constitution on which the court had invited suggestions by the state affiliates of the BCCI. The CoA is headed by Vinod Rai -- a former CAG of India.
The court will also consider revisiting the direction providing one state one vote including expanding the composition of the selection committee which might include experienced players who might not have made a big name in the cricket world.
The top court in its July 24 order last year had agreed to re-examine the one state one vote principle, the strength and composition of the selection committee and the status of associate members including the Railways, tri-services and the Association of India Universities.
The bone of contention is the vote of six associations -- Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Gujarat Cricket Association, Baroda cricket Association and Saurashtra Cricket Association -- many of whom are the founding members of the BCCI.
The lawyer appearing for the BCCI told the court on Tuesday that some of the north-eastern states who cannot get 11 players to form a team have got voting rights at par with the states who have contributed immensely to cricket in India.
At this Justice Chandrachud reminded the lawyers that India was bundled out for a mere 42 runs in England.
Recalling the fate of legendary spinner Bapu Nadkarni, though without naming him, Chief Justice Mishra said if a bowler bowls 27 maiden overs in one go that does not mean that the batsmen in the opposing team are not capable.
As the Chief Justice said, "We are on the principle of inclusion and not exclusion", Justice Chandrachud said that Vidarbha which had won the Ranji trophy this year can't be denied voting rights.