The Supreme Court Thursday expressed displeasure over the sparring between BCCI Committee of Administrators Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, saying that they should not bring their differences in “public domain”.
SC while observing that it was “partially aware” of what was going on in the CoA, said that whosoever is involved in these issues, they should not bring it in public domain.
“We have heard in newspaper reports that some sparring is going on between CoA members. We want to know is it correct?” asked a bench comprising Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre.
Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for the CoA, responded, “Not on core issues.”
To this, the bench said, “We have thought to tell the amicus curiae to inform them (CoA members) that whosoever is involved, they should not bring it in public domain. It should not come in public domain”.
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In 2017, SC had appointed a four-member CoA, headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai, to run the affairs of Board of Control for Cricket in India and implement the court-approved recommendations of the Justice RM Lodha panel on reforms in the cash-rich cricket body.
The other three members of the CoA were – former Indian women cricket captain Diana Edulji, historian Ramachandra Guha and banker Vikram Limaye. Following the resignations of Guha and Limaye, the CoA had only two members – Rai and Edulji. On Thursday, Lieutenant General Ravi Thodge was appointed by SC as the third member.
A bench of Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre selected Thodge as a member of CoA after senior advocate PS Narasimha – assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the BCCI matter – told the apex court that two members had resigned.
The two-member CoA had been divided on several matters including the recent controversy involving cricketers Hardik Pandya and K L Rahul. The CoA chief and Edulji had also reportedly differed on the controversy relating to exclusion of Indian women cricketer Mithali Raj from the playing 11 in the crucial semi-final match of the recently concluded women’s world T20.
During the hearing on Thursday, senior advocate PS Narasimha, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the BCCI matter, told the court that earlier there were four members in CoA but now there were only two.
To this, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a state cricket association, said the number of members in CoA should have been odd.
The counsel appearing for some of the state cricket associations told the court that CoA has not released funds to them.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra Cricket Association, said the condition was “precarious” as their stadium has been attached in a court proceeding and they have not been given funds by the CoA.
Sibal argued that for the last three years, “not a single penny has been given to the state cricket associations”. Tripathi told the bench that funds were released directly to the respective vendors for the works done by them.
“As long as people are playing the game and cricket is going on, we are not concerned,” the bench observed. It asked Narasimha to advise the CoA to release funds to the state cricket associations for cricketing purpose.
“At the moment, let CoA be re-constituted and they can seek advise of PS Narasimha and then release funds. We are not going to loon into the accounts,” the bench said, adding, “We think that CoA is not utilising the services of amicus. Let them do it”.
Meanwhile, SC also issued notice to the CoA on an application of BJP leader Anurag Thakur, who was removed by the top court from the post of BCCI president in 2017 for obstructing its directions for overhauling governance in the cricket body, that he be allowed to contest and get back into the elected body of the BCCI.
“My problem is that I am being barred (from BCCI) and have no remedy for the last two years,” senior advocate Patwalia, appearing for Thakur, said.
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