SC bars N Srinivasan from contesting BCCI elections
New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday barred sidelined BCCI president N. Srinivasan from contesting the election to the Indian cricket board’s governing body presidency as long as he is involved in a “conflict of interest” situation as an owner of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
The apex court said this while striking down an amendment to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rules which permitted the office bearers of the apex cricket body to have commercial interests in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League Twenty20 – all events organised by the BCCI.
The apex court bench, of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, held Srinivasan’s son-in-law and CSK “official” Gurunath Meiyappan, and IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Raj Kundra guilty of betting and said the punishment will not only be confined to them but also extend to the franchises they represent.
The court said both of them were “team officials”.
Holding to the findings of the Mudgal Committee that Meiyappan’s involvement in betting was unassailable, the court said the allegation of betting against Meiyappan and Kundra stand proved and as a consequence their misconduct is not only punishable but the franchises they represent should also be punished.
The apex court, however, cleared Srinivasan of the allegation of a cover-up after reports on the betting and match-fixing surfaced.
The court set up a three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice R.M. Lodha — and comprising Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice Ashok Bhan — to decide, besides other issues, the quantum of punishment to be given to Meiyappan and Kundra and the IPL franchises CSK and Rajasthan Royal (RR).
The court said that while deciding the quantum of punishment to Meiyappan, Kundra and others, the three-member committee will issue notice to all. The committee will also look into the memorandum of association of the BCCI and suggest changes in the rules on the eligibility and suitability of people for contesting BCCI elections.
The court appointed the committee after declining to decide the issue itself or leaving it to the BCCI. The apex court said Srinivasan will have to stay away from being an office bearer of the apex cricketing body in the country.
But it made a distinction between commercial interest and professional interest in respect of service rendered by prominent former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and the current Indian team’s director Ravi Shastri as commentators.
The court said that despite the BCCI not being a State, still it was amenable to the jurisdiction of the High Court Article 226 of the constitution since it performed important public functions.
The court also questioned the presence of Srinivasan in the committee which decided on giving compensation to CSK and other teams after the 2008 edition of the Champions League Twenty20 matches which were abandoned in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Addressing the submissions that the compensation awarded to CSK was returned, the court said such return of compensation does not matter in any way as Srinivasan tried to come clean in the wake of a public outcry.
When contacted by IANS after the verdict, Srinivasan refused to comment and said: “I am not talking now.”