Thursday, April 28, 2011

BCCI amendment not valid: Justice Gyan Sudha

A Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justices J. M. Panchal and Gyan Sudha Misra, on Thursday gave a split verdict on the appeal filed by the former Board of Control for Cricket in India president, A.C. Muthiah, against a Madras High Court order declining to interfere with a BCCI regulation which made an exclusion of events such as the Indian Premier League or the Champions League Twenty20 (T20) for administrators to have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the Board.

In her separate judgment, Justice Ms. Gyan Sudha Misra disagreed with Justice Panchal and said: “The appellant succeeded in establishing his plea that the amendment introduced by the BCCI in Clause 6.2.4 was an abuse of the amending power exercised by the BCCI. The amendment was introduced not to promote the game of cricket but to promote the interest of Mr. N. Srinivasan [vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements].”

Dual status

She said: “It is more than clear that without the amendment, Mr. Srinivasan would not have been entitled to participate in the [IPL] bid as he was a treasurer of the BCCI. Hence without the amendment he was not eligible even to participate in the bid and enjoy dual status of an office-bearer of the BCCI as treasurer and owner of Chennai Super Kings.”

The amendment was introduced with racing speed, without any deliberation by the BCCI and without giving members a notice of 21 days on this agenda which was required under the Regulation and the most commercial events of the BCCI, namely IPL and Champions League and Twenty 20 matches, were excluded from Clause 6.2.4 diluting the entire effect of this salutary clause and reducing it to a dead letter.

She, however, said: “Since Mr. Srinivasan has already participated and succeeded in the bid and is also owning Chennai Super Kings, it may be appropriate to leave it open to him to exercise his option whether he wishes to continue as an office-bearer of the BCCI or own IPL Chennai Super Kings since in view of Regulation 6.2.4, bereft of amendment, he was not eligible even to participate in the IPL auction as it clearly generated commercial interest of an office-bearer/Administrator in the events of BCCI, directly or indirectly.”

She allowed these appeals and granted injunction by directing suspension of operation of the impugned amendment.

“In case Mr. Srinivasan opts to continue owning and operating IPL Chennai Super Kings, he shall be at liberty to do so but in that event he shall be restrained from holding any office in the BCCI in any capacity whatsoever.”

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