Srinivasan in trouble after attending BCCI meeting; Supreme Court raises a suspicious eyebrow

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During the hearing in a case filed at the Supreme Court by the Cricket Association of Bihar for initiating contempt proceedings against Mr. N. Srinivasan, BCCI’s interim president ShivlalYadav and Secretary Sanjay Patil, the top Court asked Mr.Srinivasan (currently chairing ICC) to provide clarification regarding his purported attendance at the BCCI meeting.

Earlier in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had barred N. Srinivasan from contesting BCCI elections unless he relinquishes his interest in Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise. Later on, Srinivasan had been elected to head the ICC. However, owing to his conflict of interest he was also implicitly barred from participating in the conduct of BCCI’s business. While referring to the same landmark verdict (January 22nd, 2015), the bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur observed that Srinivasan should have taken care to stay away from BCCI’s meetings, since the alleged act makes the conflict of interest more palpable and Srinivasan more vulnerable to be held liable for contempt of Court order. The Court gave Srinivasan time till February 27 to clarify as to why he chose to defy the Court’s earlier verdict on his simultaneous interests in Indian cricket and Indian Premier League.

The Court shot a barb at senior counsel KapilSibal too, who is representing Srinivasan in the present proceedings, when it observed that since Srinivasan was being advised by somebody as senior as Mr.Sibal, there can be no question as to whether Mr.Srinivasan understood the full import of the Court’s earlier order/verdict.

Senior Counsel KapilSibal asked the Court for more time in order to confer properly with his client and seek further instruction in light of the Court’s observations. Granting Mr.Sibal’s request the Court adjourned the proceedings till Friday.

Earlier, the Cricket Association of Bihar submitted media reports to support its allegations that Mr. N. Srinivasan had participated in the proceedings of the working committee held on February 8 and not merely participated, but went a step further to chair the meeting, despite the fact that he had been disqualified from doing so, via the Supreme Court judgment.

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The petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar argued that since the judgment of January 22 had disqualified N. Srinivasan from contesting the elections to the BCCI while being part of any of the BCCI events, it is implied that he is also barred from holding the Presidency of the BCCI or participating or chairing any of its meetings, working or proceedings.

In the January 22nd judgment, the Supreme Court had disqualified N. Srinivasan from contesting the elections to the BCCI owing to his conflict of interest and had also proposed the formation of a judges committee under the Chairmanship of Ex-CJI Mr. R.M. Lodha to fix the quantum of punishment in the IPL scam for the CSK and Rajasthan Royals franchisees.

The judgment by Justices T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Khalifulla also held invalid the BCCI rules that allowed BCCI office-bearers to hold a commercial interest in BCCI held events such as IPL and Champions League, as they led to great ambiguity and murkiness in the proceedings at the BCCI.

While asking the BCCI to hold elections for the post of its office bearers in six weeks, the two judge bench observed that any person holding a commercial interest not excluding Mr.Srinivasan shall not be eligible to contest for the post of BCCI office-bearer, until and unless he chooses to relinquish the said commercial interest.

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by Siddhartha Singh.