What’s a working day for a court-appointed administrator? BCCI clueless, pays out lakhs

Shamik Chakrabarty, Devendra Pandey
CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. (File)

For 48 "working days" across five months, two cricket administrators in Mumbai were paid a total of Rs 1.18 crore. At least on one of those days, records show, the work was watching an IPL game.

For 30 "working days", two administrators in Hyderabad received a total of Rs 75 lakh. For them, a working day was when they officially met to discuss the cricket association's affairs.

So what really is a working day? It's a question that has led to a bizarre situation in cricket, with different scales of payment for the administrators appointed by courts to implement the Justice R M Lodha recommendations at the BCCI and its units in Mumbai, Hyderabad, J&K and Delhi.

It has also resulted in the BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) - former cricketer Diana Edulji and bureaucrat Vinod Rai - not getting paid from the time the Supreme Court handed them the reins of Indian cricket two years ago.

In contrast, former judges in charge of other BCCI units have been remunerated based on different interpretations of a "working day".

For instance, the attendance sheet of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) administrators - Justice (retd) Hemant Gokhale and Justice (retd) V M Kanade - shows this entry for a working day: "supervising the IPL Match at Wankhede Stadium".

When contacted, MCA joint secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar said: "As per Hon'ble High Court order, the Mumbai Cricket Association has paid the two administrators. The court had kept Rs 1 lakh per working day and the MCA made the payment to the administrators as soon as their term got over."

In Hyderabad, the administrators - Justice (retd) Anil Dave and Justice (retd) G V Seethapathy - have been charging only for the days the two have held meetings. Spread over two stints, they have been at the helm in Hyderabad for close to 11 months and held 30 meetings.

"Since one of the judges (Justice Dave) was from outstation, he got paid Rs 1.5 lakh for a meeting. The other judge, who is a local resident, got Rs 1 lakh. Between the two, the total was Rs 75 lakh," said a BCCI official.

In March 2017, the CoA, then comprising four members, had unanimously decided that they would charge Rs 1 lakh per meeting. The CoA then became a two-member committee, after Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye quit, and subsequently requested the then amicus curiae to come up with a "suitable figure" after coming to know that state administrators were being paid better.

Edulji apprised the Supreme Court that the supervision of the BCCI was a "24×7 job" since it involves looking after all states, dealing with ICC matters, etc. She had also asked for a clarification on what constitutes a working day.

According to Edulji, the BCCI CoA shouldn't only be paid for days when they meet but also for days when they meet lawyers and support staff, or when they attend an IPL auction, are involved in the broadcast tender process and even when they are poring over legal documents at home.