The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine a plea filed by a cricketer, seeking implementation of recommendation of RM Lodha committee and BCCI by-laws in the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) alleging "illegal, arbitrary and monopolistic actions" in administration of cricket affairs. One of the prayer in the plea was for interim stay of the HPCA elections but the state cricket body polls have been held on September 27 in which Arun Kumar Dhumal was elected as president.
The apex court had earlier constituted a three-member panel led by former Chief Justice RM Lodha, to suggest structural reforms in the apex cricket body BCCI.
Some of the recommendation of the panel were later accepted by the apex court and implemented in cricket bodies of the country.
A bench of Justices Vineet Sharan and AS Bopanna, issued notices to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Committee of Administrators (COA) and HPCA and tagged the matter along with other pending petitions.
Dhumal, who is the younger brother of union minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur and son of former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh has on Monday filed nomination papers for treasurer post in apex council of BCCI.
Advocate DK Thakur, appearing for petitioner Gautam Thakur said that recommendations of Lodha panel, which has been approved by the apex court has not been implemented in the state cricket body.
He said that the plea was filed in the month of September but it came up for hearing only on Monday.
The bench said that the plea will come up for further hearing along with other pending petitions before the special bench, which is hearing the BCCI related cases. Petitioner Thakur, who is also a former secretary of HPCA in his plea had also sought direction for management of cricketing affairs in Himachal Pradesh by Committee of Administrators till the disposal of the petition.
Thakur alleged that his fundamental rights are being infringed upon by the HPCA by their "illegal, arbitrary and monopolistic actions" in administration of cricket affairs in Himachal Pradesh by not following the recommendations of justice Lodha Committee as approved by this court.
"It is therefore respectfully prayed that this court may please to issue appropriate direction to stay the HPCA election and direct for management of cricketing affairs in HP by COA during the pendency of present writ petition any other order or direction which this court may deem for and proper in view of facts and circumstances of the case may also be passed in favour of applicant in interest of justice," said the plea.
It said that as per the by-laws and Memorandum of Association of HPCA there was a provision for life members on payment of onetime fee.
"Under the guise of this power many politician, businessmen, relatives, kith and kin and non-residents of HP are inducted as life members in HPCA by giving them right to vote and contest elections," it said.
The petition said that these class of persons do not have even a distant connection with game of cricket and they have been made part of HPCA, "just to fulfil the objectives of erstwhile president and to help him indirectly controlling the affairs of cricket in Himachal Pradesh".
"This class of persons have a majority in HPCA Electoral College. The composition of HPCA is Life members-22 (out of which 17 are non-residents of HP), 6 directors (2005-2019), Former/current government Officials-5, 3-4 first class players who have played one Ranji Trophy match each besides 24 votes of district cricket association, executive members of HPCA, kith and kin of former office bearer," it said.
The petition, further alleged that the HPCA was not allowing the duly elected representatives of two districts cricket associations (DCA) --Chamba and Lahul Spiti-- to cast their vote in the present elections.
It said that "in their place office bearer of interim committee, who are handpicks of office bearer of dissolved HPCA, which is totally unfair and arbitrary and amounts to cast a proxy vote, which is strictly prohibited under 2019 by-laws of HPCA".
The plea, said all the duly elected representatives of district cricket associations are entitled to cast their votes in the election.
"It is submitted that by-law of HPCA/BCCI be made applicable to DCA and those members/ office bearer, who are not qualified as per new bylaw of HPCA/BCCI should not be included in electoral college of HPCA", it said.
The plea said the apex court-appointed Justice RM Lodha Committee has made various suggestions for improvements in the game of cricket, which has been accepted by this court with certain modifications and one of such recommendation was that former players will have due representations in cricket associations.
It also sought direction to HPCA to disqualify non-residents of state of Himachal Pradesh from being its directors/life/donor/ordinary members.
The plea said that direction should be issued to HPCA to disqualify all its existing members, who have completed 20 years as a members/directors in cricket association or completed 70 years of age or minister, etc., to be its members or alternatively disqualify them from right to vote.