The Rajasthan High Court has stayed the dismissal of suspended Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) secretary Sanjay Dixit, and passed an interim order directing that the status quo be maintained until further orders are issued. Rajasthan cricket's status quo involves an administrative battle that has directly impacted the two-time Ranji champions and a pay dispute between its officials and its professionals.
The RCA recently expelled Dixit from the association and the court issued its ruling in response to a petition from him arguing that his expulsion was unconstitutional as the extraordinary general body meeting at which the decision was taken was improperly convened.
During the hearing on March 2, Justice Ajay Rastogi reportedly told the RCA that if it continues to function in the same way, the court would be forced to dissolve the executive committee and appoint an administrator to run its affairs.
The court also expressed its concern about the impact of the dispute on the players. In January, Rajasthan became only the sixth team to successfully defend the Ranji Trophy, but there are signs that the factionalism within the administration is starting to affect the team. In February, the three professionals - Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Aakash Chopra and Rashmi Parida - were clubbed with the non-playing members of the team for the distribution of prize money. That decision upset the players enough for Chopra to post about it on Twitter: "We, the professionals, are extremely hurt at being treated as non-playing members. It's not about the money but the respect n [sic] justice."
The RCA also requested more time to file their responses to Dixit's petition and so the court directed that "the status quo shall be maintained by the respective parties, till further order". The court also grouped the previous pending cases between Dixit and the RCA with the present writ petition. The case is to be listed again in four weeks' time. Dixit said he plans to "put forward our case to the general body" once the holidays (for Holi) are over. KK Sharma, the current officiating secretary of the RCA, did not respond to calls for comment.
Dixit told ESPNcricinfo that the association had also failed to respond to a request from his lawyers for the minutes of the meeting, a point that his lawyer had made in court. According to the Times of India, KK Sharma and RN Mathur, representing the RCA and its president, CP Joshi, told the court that "We had passed a resolution of no-confidence against Dixit and the minutes were available on record, so there was no illegality committed."
Three days after the RCA's decision not to pay the professionals their share of the prize money, Modi and Dixit, one-time bitter rivals in the RCA, also took to Twitter to announce a truce so that they could team up against the current state administration, headed by Joshi. Their alliance is believed to be the reason the RCA decided to remove Dixit as secretary.
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo