Nobody knows who appointed two judges for commission, says CAB

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to stay the Bombay High Court judgment declaring illegal and unconstitutional the two-member commission appointed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to probe allegations of spot-fixing and betting in IPL-VI.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and J.S. Khehar issued notice seeking the response of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and posted further hearing to August 29. It was on the CAB petition that the High Court passed the judgment.

Earlier, senior counsel Ariama Sundaram, appearing for the BCCI, said the High Court judgment ignored a provision in BCCI rules which gave the Board the prerogative to set up a probe panel. During the June 10 BCCI working committee meeting, Delhi and District Cricket Association representative Arun Jaitley said there was no need for nominating a third member on the probe panel and that the two judges could look into the allegations. The working committee meeting was held following the resignation of Sanjay Jagdale as the cricketing body’s secretary.

Appearing for the CAB, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram, said: “Nobody knows who appointed the two judges for the probe panel, on what forum the decision was taken [and] whether prior consent was taken or not.”

When Justice Patnaik told counsel “both retired judges were from the Madras High Court,” Ms. Nalini Chidambaram said, “That is the problem.” She said Jagmohan Dalmia had no powers to reduce the three-member panel to a two-member body as he was inducted in the place of N. Srinivasan just to look after the BCCI’ day-to-day affairs.

The BCCI said the special leave petition raised an important question of law — could the High Court exercise its writ jurisdiction and entertain a PIL petition from a third party, who was not a BCCI member but an outsider and whose conduct was not being inquired into by the probe commission?

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