The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the “rationale” behind N. Srinivasan stepping aside as BCCI president but attending its meetings as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president.
“You even attend the meeting of the working committee of the BCCI to delay the elections of the BCCI. We understand your passion for the game, but don’t be so passionate,” Justice T.S. Thakur told Mr. Srinivasan’s counsel Kapil Sibal.
“… the whole idea was you keep a distance from the workings of the BCCI,” Justice Thakur observed.
The court sought a dispassionate investigation into the prima facie findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee into the Indian Premier League scam because otherwise, “an entire nation would feel cheated.”
Kapil Sibal, counsel for N. Srinivasan, who stepped down as BCCI president after the scam, responded that the Bench may appoint anyone it had confidence in to take the panel’s findings forward. “Justice must be seen to be done,” he said.
On the court’s asking, Mr. Sibal suggested five options to ensure that the “disciplinary body” would be dispassionate in its investigation, conduct of disciplinary proceedings and, if at all, decision on punishment.
He said the court could either direct the BCCI’s Code of Behaviour Committee to be the disciplinary panel or have the BCCI nominate persons with unimpeachable integrity from outside.
In the alternative, the Supreme Court could itself nominate BCCI members of its choice or nominate people independent of the BCCI. Lastly, Mr. Sibal suggested that the court could have the Justice Mudgal panel itself act as the disciplinary committee.
Noting that the disciplinary committee would be “high-powered,” Justice T.S. Thakur made suggestions about the panel’s points of references.
It would look into any material evidence to support allegations of conflict of interest and cover-up by Mr. Srinivasan in the “entire sordid drama.” Second, the disciplinary committee may decide the punishment if the prima facie findings against Mr. Srinivasan and Gurunath Meiyappan were proved. Moreover, the disciplinary committee could also look into the “conflict of interest situations, which usually arise in the BCCI and suggest laws to cover these situations.”
When Nalini Chidambaram, counsel for the petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar, said the BCCI elections should be put on hold, the Bench did not agree. “We cannot let this vacuum continue because of this case here. Somebody has to run the BCCI affairs,” Justice Thakur said.
Here, Mr. Sibal pressed his client’s right to contest, saying that “people nominate him as BCCI president, he does not impose himself on them.” Justice Thakur responded that it was the “valuable right” of an individual to contest.
Arguments will continue on December 10.