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SC tears into BCCI.

Apex court ready to quash rule that allowed Srini to own an IPL team

THE Supreme Court on Tuesday tightened the noose around the BCCI and its sidelined president N. Srinivasan, saying it could scrap any rule of the Board which is not in public interest. The Court also sought a list of officials involved in commercial activities to ascertain if it amounts to conflict of interest.

Under threat is the amended rule 6.2.4 of the BCCI, which came into effect in 2008 before the first edition of the IPL, allowing Board administrators like Srinivasan to own an IPL franchise which according to the bench is " at the heart of conflict of interest" as it enabled him to

it was of the view that exit of one team like the CSK will not disturb the format of the IPL or any other cricket project in the country. " There are seven other teams. You can create more teams," the court said.

The hearing will continue on Wednesday.

STRONGEST ATTACK Making the fiercest ever attack on the BCCI, Srinivasan and CSK, a bench headed by justice T. S. Thakur said: " purity of the game is paramount and we will do anything, including striking down rule 6.2.4 of the BCCI's constitution which allowed administrators to own teams, to keep cricket clean." " See we are in public interest jurisdiction and our scope becomes wide and sweeping. Your rule may be sacrosanct for you but not for us. BCCI needs to take it out of their minds that we can't adjudicate on BCCI rules and that we are powerless," a furious justice Thakur told Aryama Sundaram, the lawyer for BCCI. The bench said: " The jurisdiction has been exercised keeping in mind the

preserve its purity. If we come to a conclusion that rule 6.2.4 is coming in the way, we will strike it down.

Heavens will not fall if administrators do not own teams. Why is it necessary that people who administer also own team?" The court's stinging observations mark a change in stance as till Monday it was of the view that it has limited jurisdiction to tinker with the Board's rules and it will have to respect the Board's autonomy.

Srinivasan's lawyer Kapil Sibal had on Monday told the court and the Supreme Court had always upheld the institutional autonomy of the Board.

The court was also of the view that it was inconceivable that an administrator can own a team and also enter into media rights contract of franchisee contract and " can sit on both sides of table wearing different hats." Thakur said that any parity sought by such administrators with players who render professional services due to their expertise as commentators or coaches is clearly misconceived.

The bench said this when lawyer for BCCI, Aryama Sundaram, told that the scrapping of the rule will not only affect administrators owning teams but also large number of players, former BCCI members and players who give expert advice to teams or contribute as commentators.

LIST SOUGHT " Obviously IPL format does not depend on administrators having commercial interests. Give us a list of persons and the kind of commercial activity they are involved in. This is for us to ascertain who all will be affected if we strike down the rule. Let us see if we can segregate players who are working as commentators.

In our view owning a team in itself is a conflict of interest," said Thakur.

harish. nair @ mailtoday. in Says rules aren't sacrosanct and seeks names of officials and the commercial activities they are involved in

We are only bothered about public faith and public good. How can we allow somebody administering BCCI to own a team? The question is should rules, that allow conflict of interest in the game, continue? We are in public interest jurisdiction and our scope becomes wide and sweeping. Your rule may be sacrosanct for you but not for us. BCCI needs to take it out of their minds that we can't adjudicate on BCCI rules and that we are powerless.

Our jurisdiction has been exercised keeping in mind the future of the game and preserve its purity. If we come to a conclusion that rule 6.2.4 is coming in the way, we will strike it down.

Heavens will not fall if administrators do not own teams. Why is it necessary that people who administer also own team? Give us a list of officials and players involved in commercial activity.

Let us see if we can do some segregation.

' ' ' ' -- T. S. THAKUR, Supreme Court judge

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Dec 17, 2014
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