Any office-bearer in BCCI will now have a cooling-off period of three years after holding the post for two consecutive terms, the Supreme Court ruled today, stating that the "game will be better off without cricketing oligopolies".
Diluting its 2016 order which mandated a cooling-off period after each term, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the term for all posts of office-bearers in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and in state associations would be three years and nobody should hold the position in excess of nine years.
"There shall be a cooling-off period of three years after an individual has held the post of an office-bearer for two consecutive terms, either in a state association or in the BCCI or a combination of both; and the expression 'office-bearer' should not be permitted to be circumvented by being a member of any other committee or of the governing council in BCCI or any state association, as the case may be," the bench said.
The top court said the cooling-off period was necessary as it was a safeguard against the development of vested interests and it ensured against the concentration of power in a few hands besides facilitating a dispersal of authority.
"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," it said.
While dealing with the objections to the cooling-off period, the top court said it was necessary to emphasise that the term of an office-bearer could not be regarded as an opportunity to "enrich himself" or as a matter involving "continuity of service".
"The position of an office-bearer in state associations and in BCCI is not a matter of 'service' in the conventional sense. Office-bearers should not construe their position as employees with a vested right to a particular tenure of service...Equally, it is a matter of concern that vested interests and conflicts of interest develop around power centres which have unbridled authority.
"Dispersal of authority is a necessary safeguard to ensure against the perpetuation of power centres. Individuals who administer the game of cricket must realise that the game is perched far above their personal interests...In fact, opportunities to a wide body of talent encourage a dispersal of experience and democratisation of authority," the bench said.
The apex court said that the cooling-off period was also necessary to ensure that after a period of three years, a person was not able to migrate to another association and occupy the position in the same association.
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