The IPL rules make it mandatory for a member of committee to be on inquiry commission

The Bombay High Court has rapped the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for “not even asking the remaining members of IPL Code of Behaviour Committee to join the probe panel,” at a time when two other members had submitted their resignations.

The IPL rules make it mandatory for a member of the committee to be on the inquiry commission.

The two-member probe panel consisted of retired judges from the Madras High Court. It gave a clean bill to N. Srinivasan, who has stepped aside as president of the BCCI, his son-in-law and team principal of Chennai Super Kings, Gurunath Meiyappan, and Raj Kundra, owner of Rajasthan Royals, from the charges of spot-fixing and betting.

“No explanation”

In a 61-page order on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Bihar Cricket Association, the Division Bench of S.J. Vazifdar and M.S. Sonak said that “there is no reason furnished as to why they were not appointed on the commission. There is no explanation why the BCCI did not appoint them. The BCCI did not even ask them to be on the commission.” These other members of the committee are Rajiv Shukla, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shastri.

While ruling that the constitution of the probe panel by the BCCI was contrary to and in violation of the provisions of the operative rules, the High Court has pointed out that “Rule 2.2 of the Operational Rules” requires a member of the IPL code of behaviour committee to be on the commission.

The committee’s other two members, Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke, had resigned immediately after the formation of the probe panel. As per the original proposal, Mr. Jagdale was to be the third member of the panel. The three-member probe panel was formed in terms of Operational Rules for 2013 IPL dated March 15, 2013.

The High Court, in its order, also made it clear that though the petitioner has referred to various proceedings filed by A.C. Muthiah, it does not indicate that the present petition has been filed on his behalf or at his instance.

Counsel appearing for Mr. Srinivasan had argued that the PIL was proxy litigation on behalf of Mr. Muthiah. However, the court made it clear that proceedings filed by Mr. Muthiah are “not the basis on which the relief has been sought in the present petition.”

The court order, however, makes it clear that “constitution of a probe commission under Section 6 of the Operational Rules is a prerogative of the BCCI. We see no reason to deprive it of the same at this stage and in this writ. The BCCI is at liberty to take such steps as it deems in this regard.”

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