Change which enables administrators to be part of IPL questioned

The final hearing commenced in the Supreme Court on Thursday on a special leave petition(SLP) filed by the former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), A.C. Muthiah. He has questioned the BCCI amendment to a rule which enables administrators to be part of the Indian Premier League, the Champions League and Twenty20.

A Bench of Justices J. M. Panchal and Gyan Sudha Misra is hearing the SLP against an interim order of the Madras High Court on suits filed by Mr. Muthiah.

Senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for the appellant, submitted that prior to the amendment, clause 6.2.4 of the regulations for players, team officials, umpires and administrators, said: “No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the board.” But, he said after the amendment, the clause said: “No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI excluding the IPL, the Champions League and the Twenty20.”

Counsel alleged that this was done to favour BCCI Secretary N. Srinivasan, who was a shareholder in India Cements, which owned the Chennai Super Kings T-20 squad. He said Mr. Srinivasan was the Treasurer of the BCCI when the bidding took place for the Chennai team.

Mr. Singhvi argued that there was a direct conflict of interest as the Chennai Kings, owned by India Cements Ltd. in which Srinivasan was a share holder, vice-president and managing director. He contended that the amendment to exclude IPL and T-20 tournaments from the purview of the Board's regulation was illegal.

Mr. Muthiah, in his SLP, questioned the continuance of N. Srinivasan as BCCI secretary after his company became the successful bidder for Chennai Super Kings of the IPL. However, at the general body meeting held on September 26, 2009, the amendment was introduced. The High Court upheld the amendment and dismissed a suit.

The SLP said Mr. Srinivasan was disqualified from holding the post of an office-bearer in the BCCI in as much as he had a direct “conflict of interest” with the BCCI, as he had a commercial interest in the IPL (a separate sub-committee unit of the BCCI). It sought the quashing of the impugned order and an interim stay of the rule. Arguments will continue on September 9.

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