“Heavens will not fall” if cricket administrators do not own Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. Having BCCI president-in-exile N. Srinivasan relinquish his role as team owner will not lead to the collapse of the IPL, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
A Bench led by Justice T.S. Thakur was examining the validity of amendment 6.2.4 brought by the BCCI in February 2008, which excluded IPL and Champions League from the purview of conflict of interest. The amendment enabled BCCI office-bearers to own and promote teams for the two events.
“Tell us how many IPL teams are owned by administrators? The fact that the president [Mr. Srinivasan] will not have a team does not mean your entire IPL will collapse. You can add another seven teams. Not just administrators should have teams,” Justice Thakur observed orally.
The observations from the Bench came in response to submissions made by BCCI counsel C. Aryama Sundaram that there was no conflict of interest per se if a BCCI office-bearer owned a team.
“There should not be a conflict in discharge of the functions. A person can have parallel interests, but they should not clash,” Mr. Sundaram said.
The BCCI lawyer argued that there was no contract between the Board and the general public; the contract, instead, was a private one between it and the players. It said the rules were framed under the Tamil Nadu Registration of Societies Act and flowed from a statutory source.
“You [the BCCI] are in our public interest jurisdiction. Your rules are sacrosanct for you, not for us. You should take it out of your minds that we cannot interfere with your rules. Unless you can prove that 6.2.4 is valid in law, consider the amendment as good as gone. This kind of limiting of our jurisdiction will not be tolerated. We are exercising our jurisdiction in this case not for you, but in the interest of the game,” Justice Thakur observed.