The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to list an injunction filed by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), which had sought to prevent N Srinivasan from being the BCCI nominee for the position of the ICC chairman. Srinivasan, who had been replaced as BCCI president following the court orders over the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, is likely to take over as the ICC's first chairman during the ruling body's annual conference, which will be held in Melbourne between June 23-27.
The CAB had filed the application on Tuesday seeking a hearing in the vacation court on June 16. However, the two-judge bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice C Nagappan observed that the interim order passed in April was "very clear". In April, the court had refused Srinivasan's request to be reinstated as BCCI president, but the two-judge bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifullah would not hear the CAB's plea on barring Srinivasan from continuing to represent the BCCI at ICC meetings.
With the regular court in recess until June 30, any application filed in front the vacation bench needs the permission of the judge to be listed for a hearing. "Our only request today was to hear the case on Monday. The case was not argued at all today," Nalini Chidambaram, one of the senior legal counsels for CAB, said.
Chidambaram stressed that it would be wrong to interpret the court's decision today as if it had given a nod to Srinivasan's representation at the ICC.
"The judges just said the previous order passed by the court on April 29 was very clear. So we are going to again approach the court on June 16 seeking a fresh hearing in the matter. It is very important matter and hence we wanted the court to hear us and then decide, " she said.
Srinivasan has represented India at ICC meetings since September 2013 and was also present at the Executive Board meeting in Dubai in April. The CAB, meanwhile, has sought to prevent Srinivasan from taking charge at the ICC, citing the court's decision to keep Srinivasan out of the BCCI set-up until the investigation into charges of corruption in the IPL are complete.
Desh Gaurav Sekhri, a lawyer specialising in sports litigation said, that in refusing to list the injunction, the court could have taken note of the fact that it may have little jurisdiction over the actions of a global body like the ICC, unlike the BCCI which directly impacts India.
"It's a question of subject matter and locational jurisdiction," Sekhri said. "When it comes to the BCCI, we have a clear question of the court having both subject matters as well as a locational jurisdiction where it's a question of domestic cricket and the governance/administration of it.
"When it comes to the ICC, the Supreme Court of India doesn't really have any subject matter jurisdiction over the matters of the ICC. It's an international cricket governing body and the actual relevance of an Indian being a part of the administration…it's a global kind of a role and if anything, it is after Mr Srinivasan has already finished his tenure or his suspended tenure at the BCCI.
"Technically they are not two peas in the pod. What we have is a situation where either an Indian is being nominated by the BCCI or the ICC feels that it's a candidate who it feels will be a very good president or chairman of the ICC. So I don't think the Supreme Court will entertain any such pleas or litigations."
The case dates back to June 2013, when Verma raised charges of a conflict of interest in the BCCI's original two-member inquiry panel for the IPL corruption issue. A Bombay High Court ruling later termed the probe panel "illegal". The BCCI and the CAB filed petitions in the Supreme Court against this order, with the CAB contending that the Bombay High Court could have suggested a fresh mechanism to look into the corruption allegations.
The Supreme Court then appointed a three-member committee, headed by former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal and comprising additional solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and Nilay Dutta to conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, India Cements, and Rajasthan Royals team owner Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd, as well as with the larger mandate of allegations around betting and spot-fixing in IPL matches and the involvement of players.