Supreme Court admits BCCI petition
The Supreme Court, while admitting a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the BCCI last Friday, has issued a notice to the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), asking it to reply by August 29. However, the court has not permitted the BCCI to examine the inquiry commission's report, which was submitted last week, and is yet to be opened.
The BCCI had filed the SLP against a Bombay High Court order that said that the board had violated its own rules in the formation of the inquiry commission investigating the corruption allegations against the owners of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, as well as the two franchises in general.
The High Court order was in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by CAB secretary Aditya Verma. The BCCI's 13-page SLP contested the High Court order on various grounds, including its decision to entertain the PIL, given the board's status as a private body. It had also sought to challenge the petitioner's right to file a PIL and question the legality of the inquiry panel when it was not even part of the BCCI, and therefore not subject to the findings of the panel.
During Wednesday's 15-minute hearing in the Supreme Court, C Aryama Sundaram, the senior legal counsel appearing for BCCI, did not ask for any interim relief. Sundaram, arguing the case with Raju Subramaniam and Radha Rangaswamy, was heard by the two-judge bench of Justices AK Patnaik and Jagdish Singh Khehar. The court then asked CAB's legal team to file their reply by August 29.
Sundaram sought the court's permission for the BCCI's working committee to look at the contents of the inquiry commission's report. He said that since the inquiry was an internal affair of the BCCI, its members should be allowed to read the report. However, the court felt that would be improper, and that it would only be correct to argue that point during the August 29 hearing.
"The Supreme Court, at the stage of mentioning, can either issue a notice or dismiss the petition saying there is no substance. If the court finds there is substance, then it will issue a notice and direct the opponent to file a reply normally within four to six weeks," a BCCI insider told ESPNcricinfo. "The date of hearing in this case is a miscellaneous date, so it should not take much time to dispose of the case."
Wednesday's developments in the Supreme Court are unlikely to be a deterrent to N Srinivasan who is continuing as the BCCI president. If the Supreme Court doesn't pronounce its ruling before the BCCI annual general meeting (AGM), slated to be held in the last week of September, Srinivasan may still continue to be the president for an additional year. According to the BCCI constitution, a president's initial two-year term can be extended by another if the board backs him. Srinivasan will have completed two years by the September AGM.
As one of the measures that would help improve his image in public, Srinivasan may back the appointment of a fresh inquiry commission, in place of the one whose appointment has been held in scrutiny. Many IPL governing council members feel the need of the hour is to appoint a new probe panel. "If the governing council proposes such a move, then the BCCI will seek opinion from its legal experts as to whether a new panel can be appointed when the matter is sub judice," the BCCI insider revealed.
Additional reporting by Amol Karhadkar
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo