India news September 21, 2010

Supreme Court reserves judgement on BCCI's conflict of interest

Cricinfo staff

The Supreme Court of India has reserved its judgement on the petition filed by former BCCI president AC Muthiah against the board's constitutional amendment that permitted then treasurer N Srinivasan to bid for the Chennai Super Kings in 2008. Srinivasan, now the BCCI secretary, is the vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements, the franchise owners.

The two-person bench comprising Justice JM Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra finished hearing arguments today on the validity of the amendment that excluded Twenty20 cricket from the board's conflict of interest clause.

Muthiah's lawyer Abhishek Singhvi laid out the sequence of events from the creation of the IPL in 2007 to the amendment in September 2008, claiming it was done solely to benefit Srinivasan as without it he would have been unable to bid for an IPL franchise.

Srinivasan's lawyer Rohinton Nariman argued that Muthiah had brought the petition only because he had lost to Srinivasan in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association elections. The court responded by asking Nariman what should carry more weight with the bench - the intention of the petitioner or the cause of the petitioner?

Before the amendment, clause 6.2.4 of the Regulations for Players, Team officials, Umpires and Administrators, read: "No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the board."

The amendment excluded Twenty20 cricket from the purview of the clause, which now reads: "No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI, excluding IPL, Champions League and Twenty20."

Muthiah appealed to the Supreme Court in April after the Madras High Court refused to entertain his petition challenging the BCCI's decision to amend its constitution, saying there was "absolutely no merit to interfere". Muthiah had originally written to the BCCI to say that allowing India Cements to buy Chennai created a conflict of interest. When the board failed to respond to his complaint, Muthiah took his fight to the courts, claiming that the amendment was "illegal and opposed to public policy."