N Srinivasan
N Srinivasan (Above) has been banned from the Supreme Court from contesting the BCCI presedential elections © IANS

The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the faith of the people of a cricket crazy nation by saying that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may be a private body but performs “public functions.” Given the craze and passion for the sport, the Apex Court has established that BCCI are responsible to the fans, who are the heart and soul of cricket in the country, writes Nishad Pai Vaidya.

Is this the biggest judgment in the history of Indian sport? In its judgment, Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the belief of every cricket aficionado in this land who deserves a clean game. Since the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing scandal came to the fore, a shadow cast over the sport’s credibility. Even the most passionate fans had had their moments of doubt, but their undying love for the sport is what kept them going. In passing this landmark judgment, SC has acknowledged the fact that BCCI is responsible for all those devoted fans. See how it all unfolded today

It was N Srinivasan’s fate that grabbed the headlines as he Apex Court barred him from contesting BCCI Presidential elections. However, the most telling statement came when it stated that the BCCI performs “public functions” and that brings them under the purview of judicial review. To a layman it may seem a little innocuous. “Haven’t they already been taken to court?” some may say, but this particular part of the judgment has far reaching implications for the future for it establishes BCCI’s responsibility to the public.

BCCI is a private organisation that was registered under the Madras Societies Act in the early 1930s. However, it has subsequently come under the purview of the Tamil Nadu Societies Act, 1975. By definition, it has been a “charitable” organisation that would function for the welfare of the game. In the late 2000s, they had even claimed that fell under Section 25 of Companies Act, which makes them a charitable organisation. Despite that they were not allowed a tax exemption as the authorities had deemed that they had become a profitable organisation.

BCCI may have begun with the intent of being a charitable organisation in the 1930s, but is clearly a commercial entity today. Among other things, television rights and sponsorship deals have only made it a lucrative field. The advent of IPL has only made it grow into a bigger commercial entity; and when you bring into consideration the humongous following the game commands, you would know that the game is or the people. By being that commercial power and holding a monopoly over one of the biggest passions in the country, BCCI were holding onto a huge responsibility. With that huge following, BCCI were clearly accountable to the public.

But, as the famous dialogue goes: With great power comes great responsibility. BCCI can no longer go around saying they are a private body. The Supreme Court has now made it clear that all these activities are public. This verdict establishes the very passion for the sport and that it is for the people. The BCCI cannot hold the reins and do what it wants; not anymore.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)