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We must take into consideration interest of people watching cricket on television as they have a stake in the game for viewership and popularity depends on the number of viewers. Chief Justice of India TS Thakur observed while hearing the petition challenging Lodha Committee recommendations, filed by Board of Cricket Control of India(BCCI).

Appearing on behalf of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, senior counsel Arvind Dattar submitted to the bench of CJI and Justice Khalifulla that the Lodha committee has asked TNCA to change its by-laws in order to be a member of BCCI. He argued that the provisions were given under the Registrar of Societies Act, and the body already had ample rules governing it.

The court, during the proceedings, questioned Dattar whether there was anything “perverse” in the Lodha committee recommendations. The counsel said that suggestions like no officer bearer of a state association shall hold similar post in BCCI, and setting a retirement age were baseless, adding that the ICC does not have any such rule, and has sound mental and physical health as its yardstick . He also said that not bringing politicians on board of state associations did not hold much merit as there was no conflict of interest.

Dattar also argued that legislature should consider matters like superannuation age, and state should have a right to form an association under Section 19 (4) of Societies Registration Act. “The points given in the Lodha committee report can be taken up by the legislature but it is inappropriate for the court to consider them,” he submitted.

“One of the recommendations is to air commercials during lunch time. Restricting ads to a limited time will affect investment and the sport will suffer,” Dattar said while batting for BCCI and state associations to have advertisement rights

CJI Thakur, however, countered that there was nothing “perverse” about suggestions given by Lodha Committee. “Having an organised structure will help. The committee appreciates the BCCI and the way manpower is spread,” observed the court.

The bench, however, expressed its displeasure on lack of institutional support, ruing that players in north-east have made it big solely by sheer dint of personal grit, and institutes have not offered much help.

Meanwhile, in a written submission, the Odisha Cricket Association told the bench that certain recommendations cannot be implemented as they would do “greater harm” to cricket. For instance, the ‘one state one vote’ affects the game, and it is also not in consonance with the ICC structure as per which classification is done at the entry level, and membership is performance based. “Contribution to the sport by each member during his term has not been considered by Lodha committee,” the state association argued.

The matter has been adjourned to May 2 for next hearing.

 

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