OCA to challenge Lodha Committee report in SC

Cuttack: The Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) has decided to challenge the recommendations of the Lodha Committee in the Supreme Court.

Announcing this at a press briefing here on Sunday, OCA secretary Ashirbad Behera said the state cricket association is strongly opposed to some of the recommendations of the Lodha Committee.

“Of the two volumes of its report the Lodha Committee has submitted in the Supreme Court, the first volume has 159 pages and the second has 146. We had sent the copy of the reports to all our affiliated units seeking their opinions and have received proposals from some districts. Later, we had two executive committee meetings in which the legal advisers, advocates and the office-bearers of OCA discussed and recommended 17 proposals, which were passed by the OCA Council in a meeting here today,” Behera said.

He further said the Association had sought the permission of the Council to be the intervener in the Supreme Court and the latter had authorised him to file an affidavit in the apex court against the Lodha Committee before March 3.

“I have nothing to say on the Lodha Committee for submitting its report as it is a Supreme Court appointed committee. But the report the Committee has submitted to the apex court is one-sided,” he claimed.

Talking about the report of the Committee on the age limit and the terms of election, Behera said there is no age bar in the election starting from the Panchayat level to the Parliament. In a democratic country like India, law is equal for all. Hence, considering the above, why the Lodha Committee has recommended an age limit and the term of office of a member of the BCCI and the state cricket association? If the President and Prime Minister can take care of the governance of the country at the age of 70, why can’t a 70-year-old person run a state cricket association?” Behera asked.

He said OCA has not yet finalised its advocate who would fight the case in the apex court. “But it is certain that OCA would be the intervener. I don’t know which other states would be the intervener. But I hope that OCA would be the first intervener in the Supreme Court before March 3,” he pointed out.

Behera said he had attended the annual general body meeting of the BCCI at Mumbai recently in which it was decided that the BCCI would challenge the Lodha Committee report. “It was unanimously decided that Venugopal would fight the case on behalf of the BCCI in the apex court. Besides, BCCI also empowered its secretary Anurag Thakur to file an affidavit in the apex court on its behalf,” he informed.

To a question on what would be the outcome if the Lodha Committee report is accepted, the OCA secretary said there will no more be a craze for cricket in the country.

“The Lodha Committee has a notion that BCCI is the richest sporting body in the country. There is a deliberate move to dissolve the BCCI,” he alleged.

The OCA secretary also said the BCCI not only spends money in conducting national and international events, but also donates funds for other sporting events. “From this, one can say that the report submitted by the Lodha Committee is one-sided and it will be strongly opposed by the BCCI and other state cricket associations, including the OCA,” Behera added.

It may be recalled that among the other recommendations, the Lodha Committee has recommended that a state unit can have only one full member with voting rights in a general body, which will be at the top of the structure.