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SC bars Srinivasan from contesting BCCI elections

New Delhi

22-January-2015

The Supreme Court Thursday said sidelined BCCI president N. Srinivasan cannot contest elections for 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).

Giving six weeks' time to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to hold its annual elections, the apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla in their judgment said: "No one who has any commercial interest in the BCCI events (including Mr. N. Srinivasan) shall be eligible for contesting the elections for any post whatsoever."

"We make it clear that the disqualification for contesting elections applicable to those who are holding any commercial interest in BCCI events shall hold good and continue till such time the person concerned holds such commercial interest or till the Committee considers and awards suitable punishment to those liable for the same; whichever is later" said Justice Thakur pronouncing the judgment running into more than 230 pages.

In a small consolation to Srinivasan - the vice president and managing director of India Cements that owns CSK - the apex court cleared him of the allegation of cover-up after reports on the betting and match fixing that surfaced in the media.

The court said this while answering seven question covering the different dimensions of the matter of conduct of Srinivasan, his son-in-law and CSK "official" Gurunath Meiyappan, Rajasthan Royals (RR) co-owner Raj Kundra and IPL CEO Sunder Raman, "conflict of interest" and the status of the BCCI.

Besides making Srinivasan ineligible for contesting presidential election of the BCCI on account of being in a "conflict of interest" situation, the court appointed a three-member committee of former apex court judges headed by former chief justice R.M. Lodha to decide the quantum of punishment that has to be awarded to Meiyappan and Kundra for their involvement in betting during the 2013 IPL.

Other members of the committee are Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R.V. Raveendran. The court gave the committee six months' time to complete the task entrusted to it.

The court said both Meiyappan and Kundra were "team officials" of their respective IPL franchises.

The court declared amendment to Rule 6.2.4 that permitted BCCI office bearers to have commercial interests in events like IPL and Championship League Twenty 20 as "void and ineffective".

"Amendment to Rule 6.2.4 whereby the words 'excluding events like IPL or Champions League Twenty 20', were added to the said rule is hereby declared "void and ineffective", the court said.

Holding both Meiyappan and Kundra guilty of betting, the court said that punishment would not remain confined to them alone but would extend to their franchises.

The court, while setting up the three-member committee to decide on the quantum of punishment and other issues, said that neither itself (court) nor the BCCI were appropriate to give suitable punishment.

"The trajectory of the present litigation, and the important issues it has raised as also the profile of the individuals who have been indicted, would, in our opinion, demand that the award of punishment for misconduct is left to an independent committee to exercise that power for and on the behalf of BCCI," the court said.

Having asked the committee to decide on the quantum of punishment and look into other issues relating to the memorandum of association of BCCI, the court said: "This would not only remove any apprehension of bias and/or influence one way or the other but also make the entire process objective and transparent especially when we propose to constitute a committee comprising outstanding judicial minds of impeccable honesty."

The court asked the committee to look into the activities of BCCI official Sunder Raman in the entire matter and, if needed, take the assistance of the investigating team constituted by it earlier to assist the Justice Mukul Mudgal probe panel.

The court asked the committee to examine and consider amendments to the BCCI's memorandum of association and the prevalent rules and regulations for "streamlining the conduct of elections to different posts/officers in the BCCI including conditions of eligibility and disqualifications, if any, for candidates wanting to contest the election for such posts including the office of the president of the BCCI".

The committee will also examine changes in the rules and regulations for providing a mechanism for resolving the "conflict of interest" situation if it arises despite Rule 6.2.4 prohibiting it. - IANS