NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday questioned controversial former cricket administrators N Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah from attending a recent meeting of the BCCI, asking how could persons disqualified by it be part of any deliberation of the cash-rich body.
“How can a person disqualified by virtue of apex court order be nominated as nominee of state cricket associations and attend the meeting of BCCI,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
The bench, which also comprised Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, issued notices to Srinivasan and Shah seeking their responses to hear them on July 24, when they will also go into the fourth status report filed by Committee of Administrators (COA) headed by former CAG Vinod Rai.
In the fourth status report submitted by the COA, Srinivasan and Shah have been described as “disqualified office bearers with vested interest”, who were trying to stall the implementation of Lodha reforms.
The applications moved by the apex court-appointed COA complained that the two veterans who were disqualified were present as nominees of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) and Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) respectively, at the June 26 Special General Meeting (SGM) of the BCCI.
Both Srinivasan and Shah were disqualified from becoming the office bearers of BCCI or state cricket bodies as they fell under the category of debarment for either having conflict of interest or attaining the age of 70 years, as per Justice R M Lodha led panel recommendation which were accepted by the apex court.
The bench also gave relief to former BCCI president Anurag Thakur by accepting his “unconditional” and “unequivocal” apology and dropped the contempt and criminal proceedings against him for perjury.
The apex court had initiated contempt proceedings against Thakur on January 2 this year for filing a false affidavit regarding writing to the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the issue of BCCI’s autonomy.
Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, informed that two members of the COA — Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye — have tendered their resignation from the post of administrators of the BCCI.
The apex court accepted the resignation and relieved Guha who has resigned due to personal reasons. It also relieved Limaye, who quit recently after being appointed the Managing Director and CEO of National Stock Exchange.
Subramanium suggested six names for filling up the post of administrators fallen vacant after these resignations but the apex court sought suggestions from senior counsels like Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, Kapil Sibal and others appearing for various parties in the matter in ten days in a sealed cover, to be considered on September 5.
The fourth status report said “The SGM on June 26 was attended by various persons who are disqualified from being office bearers of BCCI and/or their respective state/member associations including N Srinivasan (represented TNCA) and Niranjan Shah (SCA) amongst others.
“Such disqualified persons have a vested interest in stalling implementation of judgement because if the judgement is implemented, such disqualified person will have to relinquish control over their respective state associations,” it said.
Tripathi told the bench that a CD has also been annexed with the report to showcase that 30 per cent of the time was consumed by Srinivasan and Shah, who had disrupted the June 26 SGM by “trying to hijack” it and that no consensus was reached on the implementation of Lodha reforms among the state associations.
He said these disqualified members cannot attend the meeting by becoming nominees of state cricket associations.
Sibal appearing for TNCA accepted the court’s notice on behalf of Srinivasan and said the veteran cricket administrator has no conflict of interest as of now and he can very much become a nominee of an association by virtue of being its member.
The bench said it will hear the arguments on July 24 on the fourth status report and the objections raised by the COA on the presence of Srinivasan and Shah in the Shah as nominees of state cricket bodies.
Sibal said the arguments were going far beyond the judgements and efforts were being made to target the former cricket administrators.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar appearing for Railways and defence services said the Lodha panel recommendations have taken away their right to vote, despite being the founder members of BCCI.
The bench said “if we look into the history, we cannot deny the contribution made by railways to cricket. If any wrong has been done, then it can be corrected”.
It said the court will hear the arguments on the aspect of recall of order on September 5, along with the pleas of various state cricket associations praying for issuance of funds from BCCI for holding matches.