BCCI panel rejects Modi's plea

The three members of the Disciplinary Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has turned down the request of the suspended Indian Premier League chairman, Lalit Modi, that they recuse themselves from the committee.

The committee has scheduled its fourth meeting in New Delhi on August 18.

A preliminary enquiry had chargesheeted Mr. Modi for alleged IPL-related irregularities. Thereafter, the BCCI, on the basis of Mr. Modi's replies to three show cause notices, resolved to conduct disciplinary proceedings against him.

“The request of Mr. Lalit Modi for recusal of certain members of the Disciplinary Committee is rejected,” a statement from DC members Arun Jaitley, Chirayu Amin and Jyotiraditya Scindia said.

Shashank Manohar (president, BCCI), Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Amin were named in the DC at the BCCI's Annual General Meeting in September 2009.

Mr. Scindia was named in the reconstituted DC at the BCCI's Special General Meeting on July 3, 2010 after Mr. Manohar decided to recuse himself from the DC.

Decision anticipated

The DC's decision was anticipated on a number of counts. Most significantly, it is a special committee appointed by the BCCI president and ratified at the AGM comprising 30 full members of the BCCI.

Even the recusal of Mr. Manohar from the committee was approved at the SGM here on July 3. The report of the DC is placed before an SGM and, according to the BCCI constitution, “an appropriate decision [is taken] by majority of 3/4th members present and voting at the SGM.”

High Court's ruling

Last month, the Bombay High Court, without going into the legality of the reconstitution of the DC panel, said that “even if none of the members withdraws from the Disciplinary Committee, nothing stops the petitioner in challenging the constitution of the Disciplinary Committee along with the challenge he may raise against the final order of punishment. It is for the Disciplinary Committee and the Board (BCCI) to address the requirements of Rule 1 (q) of the Rules and Regulations [of the BCCI] and the issue of recusal on moral grounds or with an intention to act in fairness or for any other grounds should be left to the decision of the members of the Disciplinary Committee.”

Further, disciplinary proceedings by an independent panel do not come under the ambit of BCCI's by-laws, especially under Rule 32 (iv) that specifies a procedure to deal with misconduct by a BCCI administrator. The BCCI members recognise and function as per the rules set out in its constitution. Mr. Modi has apparently stated that none from the BCCI should be part of the DC panel.

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