India news September 23, 2013

BCCI moves Delhi High Court on special general meeting stay

ESPNcricinfo staff

The legal wrangle ahead of what is expected to be an interesting BCCI annual general meeting (AGM) continued on Monday, with developments in two separate court cases. While the BCCI has challenged an order restraining it from holding its special general meeting (SGM) on September 25 to decide the fate of former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma has moved the Supreme Court, pleading that BCCI president N Srinivasan not be allowed to contest the board's election.

A Delhi trial court had issued an order on September 21, barring the BCCI's SGM on Wednesday, and expectedly the board has now moved the Delhi High Court. Even though the lower court had stayed the SGM, it had declined to pass an order on Modi questioning the appointment of Sanjay Patel and Jagmohan Dalmiya as BCCI's secretary and head of day to day affairs, respectively, by president N Srinivasan who had stepped aside in the wake of IPL spot-fixing scandal.

After hearing the BCCI's argument against the trial court's order, which was based on the court having no jurisdiction to pass the same, Justice VK Shail decided to continue the hearing on Tuesday and also hear Modi's cross petition against the appointment of Patel and Dalmiya.

Senior advocate CA Sundaram, on behalf of the BCCI, told the judge that since the SGM was slated to be held in Chennai, a trial court in Delhi could not pass an order staying it. "The Delhi court has no jurisdiction to pass such an order as the BCCI headquarters is in Mumbai and SGM was to be held in Chennai where Srinivansan resides. Just because the disciplinary committee meeting [which found Modi guilty on eight different charges] was held in Delhi, Modi has approached the city court," Sundaram was quoted as saying by PTI. "In the SGM, the report of the disciplinary committee will be considered and if the report will be accepted, then a show cause notice will be issued to Modi to make his defence."

Even if the High Court gives the go-ahead for the BCCI to conduct the SGM on Wednesday, the BCCI camp is expecting Modi to move Supreme Court in what is believed to be "delaying tactics".

In the other case, CAB secretary Verma moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking an interim injunction against Srinivasan from contesting the BCCI election pending the verdict on the special leave petition (SLP) filed by Verma against the BCCI. The Supreme Court, on September 12, had run out of time and hence failed to hear the SLP where the BCCI lawyers were expected to enter final arguments against the CAB petition that had challenged the Bombay High Court order for failing to appoint a fresh probe panel to investigate corruption in the IPL despite ruling the BCCI probe panel was constituted illegally.

On Monday, Verma, through his counsel Gagan Gupta, entered a prayer in the Supreme Court asking it to restrain Srinivasan from not only standing for the BCCI president's polls (scheduled to be held during the board's AGM on September 29) but also bar him from being part of any of the board's committees. The court is expected to give a date of hearing on Tuesday.

The Bombay High Court had pointed out in its order that Srinivasan had "prima facie" a hand in the appointment of the two-man probe panel that had cleared the owners of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals of corruption charges. The High Court had called the finding "illegal". The BCCI had filed its own SLP challenging that order. The Supreme Court is yet to announce the next date hearing for this.

The main reason behind the BCCI's SLP was to erase the black mark on Srinivasan left by the High Court order. Lawyers on both sides confirmed that Srinivasan was free to attend the BCCI AGM as well as stand for the president's elections despite the CAB petition.

The significance of the CAB prayer cannot be determined at this stage. Verma's intention from the beginning has been to restrain Srinivasan from performing his BCCI duties till the courts conclusively clear him of all allegations.