The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday declined to pass interim orders restraining the Centre and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from sending the Indian Cricket team to play the ongoing tri-series in Sri Lanka as a mark of protest against alleged genocide in the island nation.
A Division Bench comprising Justice P. Murgesen and Justice C.S. Karnan dismissed a miscellaneous (sub) petition by a lawyer here on the ground that the BCCI had no statutory obligation towards the petitioner. The main writ petition seeking a similar plea of restraining the team from going to Sri Lanka was kept pending.
The judges also pointed out that the Supreme Court in 2006 had held that courts should not interfere in matters related to Government’s foreign policy. Earlier BCCI counsel argued that preventing the Indian cricket team from going to Sri Lanka might affect the relationship between the two countries.
In his counter affidavit, N. Srinivasan, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, said the Cricket Board was not created by any statute. No part of share capital was held by the government. Practically, no finance was given by the government to meet the Board’s expenditure and there was no deep and pervasive State control.
Initially, the writ petition filed with the support of 512 lawyers here came up before a Division Bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice M. Duraiswamy on August 1. Then, the judges refused to pass any orders but for ordering notices to the Centre and BCCI returnable in six weeks.
A day later, the petitioner’s counsel urged the Bench to take up the matter for hearing considering the urgency involved in the issue. He also represented that he had served notices on the respondents through fax, telegram and other means of communication. But the judges refused to accept his plea.
Aggrieved over the refusal, the lawyers made a representation to the Chief Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale urging him to transfer the case to some other Division Bench. Accordingly, the matter was transferred and placed before the Bench comprising Mr. Justice Murgesen.