The Supreme Court (SC) in India had commissioned the Lodha Committee headed by  R.M. Lodha, the retired Chief Justice of India to look into the 2013 match-fixing scandals surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) and senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials and players.

The Lodha Committee took a long period of time to thoroughly investigate all aspects, rules and individuals who were accused of matching-fixing, corruption and bribery before compiling a lengthy report and submitting the same to the Supreme Court in India. The report included a number of recommendations focused on cleaning up the BCCI, IPL and also other sports in India that were open to the evils of match-fixing.

Some of the recommendations made in the Lodha report include preventing civil servants and ministers from becoming members of the BCCI, preventing individuals over the age of 70 from being a part of the BCCI, preparing a Cricketers Handbook for young cricket players educating them on match-fixing and getting sportsmen and women with impeccable integrity to lecture players on ethics and morals. However the most interesting recommendation from the Lodha committee was the suggestion to legalize sports betting in India which will significantly reduce the possibility of match-fixing.

Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla and SC Chief Justice TS Thakur agreed with these recommendations from the Lodha committee and in turn prepared a 143 page judgement instructing the BCCI to clean up its act and implement the proposed recommendations within a six month period.

The SC made it clear that while it agreed with the recommendation to legalize sports betting in India, it would be up to the Indian Parliament to propose a new legislation that would make sports betting legal in the country. The SC also stated that members of the IPL and BCCI which include match officials, administrators, team officials, franchise owners and players cannot indulge in sports betting and it must be treated as an offense should they do so.

According to calvinayre.com, the SC stated in its report “While the latter [match fixing] interferes with the integrity of the game and attempts to change the course of the match, the former [sports betting] is a general malaise indulged by different sections of the society not only with reference to cricket but other games also. The Committee considers the match/ spot-fixing as unpardonable and opines that the only way to deal with the same effectively is to make it punishable by law. The Committee in that regard recommends appropriate amendment by the legislature.”

India has already debated the possibility of legalizing sports betting in the country but the progress to lift the ban which is based on the Public Gaming Act 1867 has been slow. The BCCI has expressed its disappointment at some of the recommendations made in the Lodha report stating that not everything recommended was feasible, including legalizing sports betting in the country as every state had its own gambling and betting laws.

 

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