Supreme Court dismisses appeal, Chargers out of IPL
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Deccan Chargers' plea to put a stay on the Bombay High Court order which upheld the BCCI termination of the franchise from the IPL. The chief justice of India, Altamas Kabir, heard the case but refused to grant a stay to the franchise owners, who approached the apex court immediately after the Bombay High Court yesterday overruled the arbitrator's order to put a stay on the expulsion.
The development means the Chargers are now completely out of the IPL. There are only two ways the Chargers can now bounce back - if the Bombay High Court judge, who rejected the ad-interim order on Thursday, reverses his decision once he has heard in detail the arguments from both sides on October 29; or the court-appointed arbitrator, CK Thakkar, finds the grounds of the termination were not correct.
On October 12, the Chargers approached Thakkar for rescue immediately after they had failed the deadline to provide the stipulated Rs 100 crore ($19 million) as directed by the Bombay High Court. The justice, SJ Kathawalla in his final judgement on October 1 had asked Chargers' owners to provide the bank guarantee or risk the stay order he had imposed on the BCCI termination be revived. Thakkar issued a stay on the High Court order, but the BCCI responded by filing an ad-interim order (urgent relief) in the High Court, which was heard by Justice RD Dhanuka yesterday. He rejected Thakker's order, saying the arbitrator had no "jurisdiction" to overrule the court order.
The Chargers' owners had also filed a special leave petition (SLP) under Section 9 in front of Dhanuka, against the order by the Bombay High Court to allow the BCCI appeal of lifting the termination. Dhanuka once again ruled in BCCI's favour even without listening to the arguments of Raju Subramaniam, the board's lawyer.
As a last resort, the Chargers filed a petition in the Supreme Court requesting the SLP be stayed. "That SLP was dismissed today. That means the order of the Bombay High Court has been confirmed and the termination will now stand," a BCCI official said. "I think they have played their last card. I do not think they have any further cards."
According to him the Supreme Court found that there was nothing wrong in the order passed by the Bombay High Court and therefore there was no reason for the apex court to interfere and hence it dismissed the SLP.
According to the official, the BCCI is confident that neither the October 29 hearing nor the arbitration proceedings were likely to further stall the board's plans to go ahead with installing a new franchise to fill the void left vacant by the Chargers.
"There are so many more grounds for termination, so I don't even know if the arbitration would go on. Because they were supposed to file their statement of claims today in front of the arbitrator, which they did not," the official said. According to him, the Chargers' counsel is likely to ask for an extension to file the statement of claims which could easily last more than the three-month time frame, which was suggested by the judge SJ Kathawalla in his final order on October 1.
"It would be difficult for the court to reverse its order because it was a reasoned order given at the ad-interim stage without even the BCCI counsel's response. The BCCI lawyers are yet to argue their case completely and that could further worsen the situation for the Chargers. And with this affirmation by the Supreme Court, we do not think the judge would change his view," the official said.
In a release, the BCCI also said that "all [Chargers] players' dues for the last season have been met".
The BCCI has already moved forward by floating a tender inviting interested bidders for the new franchise. The deadline to file the final bid document expires noon on October 25.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo