The BCCI's electoral officer has upheld the decision taken by the Committee of the Administrators (CoA) to disqualify three key state associations from participating in the BCCI elections, scheduled for October 23. On Thursday, N Gopalswami, the board's electoral officer, removed Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Maharashtra from the final electoral roll, thus taking away their voting rights.
In another significant move, Gopalswami disqualified Rajeev Shukla and Rajkumar Imo Singh, the nominated representatives of Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association (UPCA) and Manipur Cricket Association respectively.
Shukla had met Gopalswami in person on Wednesday, but the electoral officer disqualified his nomination because he had not undertaken the mandatory three-year cooling off since wrapping up as the IPL chairman in August 2018. Shukla had already served 11 years as an UPCA office bearer before taking up the IPL job in 2016.
Imo Singh, meanwhile, is a Member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly and politicians can no longer be administrators or an office bearers thanks to the changes made in the BCCI constitution last year.
The draft electoral roll, which was announced on October 4, had 38 members including three government-funded institutions: Services, Indian Railways and Association of Indian Universities. All three institutions had originally nominated a representative to participate in the board elections, but as per the new BCCI constitution, only their player associations are allowed to nominate a person.
While announcing the election process, Gopalswami had made it clear that if the nominated person was disqualified, the state association could not appoint a replacement. This was a CoA directive as well. So all five of the UPCA, Manipur Cricket Association, Services, Railways and Universities have also lost their voting rights and can't attend the BCCI annual general meeting that takes place on the day of the elections.
What happens now?
As they indicated on Wednesday, the TNCA will approach the Supreme Court on October 14, nine days before the BCCI elections, to challenge their disqualification. It is unclear whether Haryana and Maharashtra will follow suit.
If the court upholds the CoA and electoral officer's verdicts, then the BCCI elections will take place on October 23 and will be contested among the nominated representatives that feature in the final electoral roll.
The representatives can list out which posts they will be contesting on October 11, 12 and 14. On October 16, a week before the elections, the final list of candidates will be released.
Reasons for disqualification
Tamil Nadu Cricket Association
The CoA originally highlighted 21 points of difference between the TNCA's constitution and the BCCI's. But the state association secretary, R Ramasaamy, told ESPNcricinfo that, barring two key points, everything else was pretty much okay.
First, the TNCA appointed a second vice-president when the BCCI constitution allows just one.
Ramasaamy said they needed the extra person to ensure proper representation for the numerous districts under the TNCA and that, by his interpretation, the Supreme Court had allowed every state association to amend their constitution to best suit their work. So the TNCA elected an extra vice-president and an assistant secretary to represent the districts.
The second violation deals with eligibility criteria.
As recommended by the Lodha committee, a person can become an office bearer or an administrator if they are under 70 years old. They can only serve a maximum of nine years at the state association or BCCI separately. They cannot be in public office, including being a government servant or a serving minister. Also, they cannot be a member of another sports body or have a criminal charge.
The CoA has been always clear that these eligibility norms apply to both office bearers as well as the administrators. The TNCA, however, has cited a Supreme Court observation of last month saying that the norms covered only office bearers and not administrators. This interpretation was not allowed by the CoA as well as the BCCI electoral officer Gopalswami.
Haryana Cricket Association
The CoA found that the HCA had carried out their elections without changing their old constitution.
Maharashtra Cricket Association
Initially, the CoA found that the copy of the constitution that the MCA had submitted was not registered. The state charity commissioner (the authority meant to register the constitution) explained that the copy that was with him still needed the approval of the CoA. The CoA then found that the copy of the constitution submitted with the charity commissioner was a different one and differed substantially from the BCCI constitution.
Despite all that, the MCA went ahead and conducted their elections. Also, the MCA elected their apex council first, which in turn elected the office bearers, which is totally against the BCCI constitution.