Bombay High Court appoints administrators to supervise MCA

The Wankhede Stadium under lights AFP

A bench of the Bombay High Court has appointed retired judges HL Gokhale and VM Kanade as administrators of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), PTI has reported. The bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and MS Karnik said the administrators can take the assistance of experts or existing members of the MCA, who hold office in accordance with the Lodha Committee's recommendations, while carrying out their task of regulating the functioning of the state association.

Justice Gokhale is a former Supreme Court judge and Justice Kanade is a retired Bombay High Court judge.

The bench will pass a detailed order on the matter on Thursday.

The court, however, has allowed the MCA's managing committee to complete pending formalities including signing a contract with Mumbai Indians for the upcoming IPL season.

On Tuesday, the court had directed the association and the petitioner to submit names of one or more retired judges of the Supreme Court or the Bombay High Court who could be appointed as administrators. The bench chose the two names out of a list the MCA submitted on Wednesday.

The bench was hearing a writ petition seeking that the MCA's managing committee be dissolved over non-implementation of the Lodha Committee's recommendations. The petition has been filed by Nadeem Memon, a member of one of the sports clubs under the MCA.

The BCCI supported the stand of the petitioner.

During previous hearings, the MCA had told the bench it was willing to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations, and that it has called for a meeting on April 16. The MCA's counsel AS Khandeparkar had told the bench that the meeting had been called to approve amendments to the association's constitution to bring it in line with the Lodha Committee recommendations.

The bench, however, had questioned the sanctity of such a meeting and suggested that the MCA voluntarily accept the appointment of administrators to supervise its affairs.

The bench had also taken note of the suggestion of the BCCI to follow the model adopted by the Delhi High Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court of appointing administrators for the Delhi and Hyderabad cricket associations respectively.

The bench also left the fate of the April 16 meeting to the administrators.

"We are ordering for the appointment of administrators. While this does not impose a stay on any important pending functions of the MCA, let the administrators take charge, go through your books, and then decide on the meeting," the bench said.

The MCA had urged the court to not let the appointment affect its pending functions related to the IPL, which begins on Saturday.

The MCA's counsel Rafiq Dada conveyed to the bench that the renewal of the lease of the Wankhede stadium for the IPL and other liaison work for the series had to be completed in a day or so. The bench permitted the existing members or office-bearers of the MCA to complete the work.

However, following apprehensions of mismanagement by the BCCI, the bench ruled that the "sale and distribution" of tickets for the IPL would be managed solely by the administrators.