A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court delivered a split verdict on a petition challenging amendment in BCCI regulation to exclude IPL and T-20 tournaments from its perview and referred the matter to the chief justice for allocating it to a larger bench. The petition, filed by former BCCI president A C Muthiah, had alleged that the amendment was brought to favour the cricket board’s secretary N Srinivasan who owns the T-20 team Chennai Super Kings.
With the division bench comprising justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra giving the split verdict, the petition has been referred to the chief justice for allocating it to a larger bench.
While Justice Panchal dismissed the petition filed by Muthiah, challenging the validity of the amendment in clause 6.2.4, Justice Mishra allowed the petition holding that a BCCI officer bearer cannot have stake in the IPL team.
“If Srinivasan opts to hold interest in the IPL team, he shall be able to do so but restrained to hold any office in BCCI,” Justice Mishra said.
Muthiah, in his petition, had alleged that amendment in the regulation was brought without following proper procedure. Srinivasan, however, alleged that Muthiah had filed the petition with malafide intention and that he had no locus standi.
Muthiah had appealed against the Madras High Court’s order upholding the validity of the amendment alleging that “the new regulation was brought only to favour N Srinivasan” who was the treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) when he was bidding for the Chennai team.
Muthiah had contended that under the un-amended clause, no administrator of BCCI could have had, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the cricket board.
On the other hand, Srinivasan had submitted there was nothing wrong in the administrator donning the role of the Secretary, contesting the post of President and owning an IPL team CSK.
Muthiah had said there is a conflict of interest as the Chennai team is owned by Indian Cement Ltd in which Srinivasan is a share holder, Vice President and Managing Director.
Muthiah had informed the court about the sequence of events from the start of IPL in 2007 to the amendment of the clause in September 2008 to buttress the point that the change in the rule was brought out in an illegal manner to benefit Srinivasan as there was a conflict of interest.
He had contended the decision to exclude IPL and T-20 tournaments from the purview of the Board’s regulation was “illegal and opposed to public policy.”
Muthiah had said while Srinivasan was bidding for the Chennai team in January 2008, he had made a complaint to BCCI citing the regulation that no member of the board will have commercial interest in IPL.
Muthiah had further said the amendment was brought at the BCCI’s AGM on 27th September , 2008, without bringing the issue on the agenda for which a notice would have to be given 21 days in advance.