Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have been found to be in positions of conflict of interest for their roles as commentator and the positions they hold in Indian cricket. That is the ruling of the BCCI's ethics officer Justice (Retd) DK Jain, who has given them two weeks to choose between the two roles.
Justice Jain was reviewing complaints filed by members of the public against Ganguly and Laxman. Another complaint, against Sachin Tendulkar, alleged a conflict between his roles as mentor of Mumbai Indians in the IPL and as a member of the BCCI's Cricket Advisory Committee. However, during the hearing of the case, Tendulkar submitted that he had decided not to be part of any BCCI committee, and had informed the board about it. Following this disclosure, Justice Jain ruled there was no issue of conflict and no need to investigate further.
In the case of Ganguly and Laxman, having heard both the complainants as well as the former players in person, and upon studying the BCCI's constitution, Justice Jain concluded that the two men could hold only one post at any given point of time. "That is the spirit of the constitution, the concept of one man one post," Justice Jain told ESPNcricinfo. "And they are holding more than one post… therefore there is a conflict of interest as defined under the constitution."
"That is the spirit of the constitution, the concept of one man one post. And they are holding more than one post… therefore there is a conflict of interest as defined under the constitution.JUSTICE JAIN
Ganguly and Laxman were deemed to have breached Rule 38 (4) of the BCCI constitution, which states that a person cannot hold two positions at the same point out of 16 listed. The clause says: "It is clarified that no individual is allowed to occupy more than one of the following posts at a single point of time except where prescribed under these rules."
The 16 positions are: Player (current), selector/member of cricket committee, team official, commentator, match official, administrator/office bearer, electoral officer, ombudsman & ethics officer, auditor, any person who is governance, management or employee of a franchisee, member of a standing committee, CEO & managers, office Bearer of a Member (state association), service provider (legal, financial etc.), contractual entity (broadcast, security, contractor etc.) and owner of cricket academy.
Ganguly is the president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, advisor at Delhi Capitals in the IPL, and also a TV commentator. Laxman is a mentor at Sunrisers Hyderabad and a TV commentator.
"I have only interpreted provisions of the rule which were framed pursuant to adoption of the constitution after the Lodha Commission's recommendations (were accepted by the court)," Justice Jain said.
He said that both Ganguly and Laxman can challenge the order and take it up with the BCCI. It is understood that the BCCI's legal team is studying the order.
If either or both Ganguly and Laxman carry on performing both roles, Justice Jain said it was for the BCCI to take a call on the path forward. "It is the job of the BCCI to first interpret and then enforce constitution and the rules. They are also bound. They are also the creature of the constitution," he said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo