Allowing Srinivasan to take over as BCCI president in 2011, a Bench made it clear that this would be subject to final orders on A.C. Muthiah’s appeal

As demand grows for the resignation of BCCI president N. Srinivasan, the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ — whether administrators can have any commercial interest, directly or indirectly, in matches or events conducted by the Board — is pending consideration by the Supreme Court.

While allowing Mr. Srinivasan to take over as BCCI president, a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam (since retired) and R.M. Lodha, in September 2011 made it clear that this would be subject to final orders to be passed in the appeal filed by the former BCCI president, A.C. Muthiah, against a Madras High Court’s interim order raising the issue of ‘conflict of interest.’

In April 2011, a Bench of Justices J.M. Panchal and Ms. Gyan Sudha Misra gave a split verdict on Mr. Muthiah’s appeal against an interim order of the High Court declining to interfere with a BCCI regulation that excluded events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) or Champions League or Twenty20 (T20) for administrators to have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the Board. Thereafter, the matter was posted before a Bench headed by Justice Alam.

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 matches and events conducted by the Board.” But 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 IPL, Champions League and Twenty20.” While Justice Panchal ruled that amendment was valid, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra held that the amendment was invalid. The matter is now pending adjudication by another Bench.

It was argued on behalf of the appellant that Mr. Srinivasan, then treasurer of the BCCI, could not have participated in the IPL team bidding in view of the conflict of interest.

Rejecting this, Justice Panchal had said: “As far as the BCCI is concerned, all decisions relating to management and administration are taken by its Managing Committee to the alleged conflict of interest and duty proceeds on a complete misconception of what T20 matches are all about. The record does not indicate that any franchisee or any other member of the respondent No. 1 BCCI has complained of any alleged conflict of interest. Thus, the plea of conflict of interest is substanceless and is hereby rejected.”

In her separate judgment, disagreeing with Justice Panchal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said: “The appellant succeeded in establishing his plea that the amendment introduced by the BCCI to Clause 6.2.4 was an abuse of the amending power… The amendment was introduced not to promote the game of cricket but to promote the interests of Mr. Srinivasan.”

She said, “It is more than clear that without the amendment, Mr. Srinivasan would not have been entitled to participate in the bid as he was a treasurer of the BCCI, and hence without the amendment, he was not eligible even to participate in the bid and enjoy the dual status of… an office-bearer of the BCCI as treasurer and owner of Chennai Super Kings.”

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