Making scathing observations against the Indian cricket board, the Supreme Court on Thursday called on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to belittle the Justice RM Lodha-led committee and directed it to resolve "any outstanding issues" with the panel.
Heading a newly constituted special bench, Chief Justice T.S. Thakur stated, "Lodha panel is not an ordinary panel. It is headed by a former CJI. If you have any outstanding issues, go to the panel."
During the hearing, the apex court observed, "either BCCI elects new administrators or Lodha panel gives more time to BCCI to fall in line" and asked the cash-rich cricket body "Will you implement the Lodha Committee recommendation or not?"
The top court also maintained that the BCCI should have exercised transparency in funding state associations saying, "You can't transfer Rs 400 crore overnight".
Further tightening grip on the BCCI, the Supreme Court directed the cricket body to give an undertaking that it will implement Lodha Committee recommendations unconditionally or else it will have to pass orders on Friday.
Earlier in the day, the BCCI, in its response in the court, had refuted allegations of non-compliance with the Lodha-led panel's recommendations, saying that "records of 40 mails" exchanged with Justice Lodha would be submitted before the apex court.
"Records of 40 mails sent to Justice Lodha will be submitted to the court, not true that we didn't respond to Committee's mails," the BCCI said in its response.
Last week, the Lodha committee had submitted its status report with the Supreme Court, accusing the BCCI of defying the apex court's orders and stalling its proposed reforms. It also recommended the ouster of the entire top brass of the cash-rich cricket body.
In its report, the apex court-appointed panel had stated that the BCCI was not implementing its recommendations aimed at reforming the country's cricket governing body.
The move came after the BCCI appointed a five-member selection committee during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on September 21, which was in violation to the Lodha panel's guidelines.
Tearing into the BCCI for ignoring the directions of the Lodha panel, the apex court had given the cricket governing body time till October 6 to respond to the panel's report.
In its October 1 Special General Meeting, the BCCI had accepted many of the "significant recommendations" of the Lodha Committee, however, it excluded the important ones which have been bone of contention between the cricket body and the Lodha Panel.
The recommendations, which have still not been accepted by the 30-member committee, include one-state one-vote, age limit of 70 years, cooling-off period of three years which included the tenure of the administrators, continue with the five-selectors and keeping to retaining the powers of the president and secretary as per the earlier constitution of the board.
Defending its action, the BCCI said, "a meeting comprising all members took place, and several recommendations of the Lodha Committee were rejected by voting".