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Delhi High Court strikes down DDCA decision to sack selectors

The Delhi High Court has lashed out at the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) for "crossing its limit" and undermining the authority of Justice Mukul Mudgal by sacking the selectors appointed by him. The court said the association's move "attracts contempt of court". The bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma suspended the decision of the DDCA, restoring the selection panel appointed by Justice Mudgal.

The court said the DDCA was "testing everyone's patience here". It slammed the DDCA for "targetting" Justice Mudgal, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court who was appointed by the Delhi High Court to oversee the functioning of the association, which is plagued by alleged financial irregularities and nepotism in selection of players.

On November 5, the sports working committee of DDCA removed former Indian cricketers Maninder Singh, Atul Wassan and Nikhil Chopra from their roles in the senior and junior selection panels, stating conflict of interest issues. The bench said: "DDCA should have informed the court about such a move when the order was reserved so that it could have taken preventive steps at that time only."

The bench said of the selectors: "Various selections have been made by them and they are doing their job properly and there is no chance of any misconduct."

The high court also made it clear that the DDCA will not interfere with the working of the selectors and asked them to proceed with the selection of Under-14 and Under-16 players.

While allowing the selection panels to continue till further order, the bench said: "We really don't know where things are going. It is unfortunate. You [DDCA] are after the committee, you are targetting Justice Mudgal."

Justice Mudgal, through his counsel Nitin Mishra, had moved the court seeking direction to declare the DDCA's decision as "null and void".

In a status report filed with the court, Justice Mudgal had said: "Selectors, who were appointed under my supervision through the process of interview by a selection panel, are in process of picking up senior and junior teams at the moment. The act of removing the selectors unanimously by certain directors and the convener, sports working committee (DDCA), without any approval from the selection panel formed by me or by the Delhi HC is only aimed to scuttle the domestic season."

He said the selectors were appointed by the selection panel keeping in mind the recommendations of the Lodha Committee on conflict of interest norms.

Considering Justice Mudgal's report that the DDCA has not paid the players' dues, the bench also directed the association to make immediate arrangements for cricketers playing or staying at hotels, and clear the dues within 48 hours.

The bench also asked DDCA to clear, within a week, the dues of vendors and caterers that have been pending for the last three years.