Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Saturday upheld a civil court's order to stay the five-year ban imposed by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) on BCCI's game development officer Ratnakar Shetty saying the action was "pre-determined and drastic".
Justice Anoop Mohta directed MCA to accept Shetty's nomination to represent the Bombay Union Sports Club which would enable him to contest the bi-annual elections scheduled to be held on October 18. The court clarified that if MCA approaches the Supreme Court in appeal then Shetty's nomination would be subject to the outcome of that petition.
Shetty, who has served MCA in various capacities over the last three decades, was banned by the association for alleging that some office bearers of MCA might be involved in black marketing of tickets of the India-Pakistan T20 international played at Ahmedabad on December 28 last year.
MCA imposed the ban on June 3 after giving Shetty an opportunity to hear the voice recording of his allegations levelled at the association's AGM of March 22. Shetty replied to its showcause notice, but it was rejected following which he approached the city civil court.
The civil court on September 7 granted a stay on the ban after which MCA approached the high court.
"The decision to debar the respondent (Shetty) from their (MCA) point of view may be administrative but it affects his legal rights. It seems like a pre-determined and drastic punishment by MCA without first seeking an explanation from the respondent. The principles of natural justice has failed," Justice Mohta said.
"There is nothing on record to show any enquiry was conducted after query was raised by the respondent in the association's annual general meeting. Instead of informing the person who raised the query, the committee took the decision to impose penalty," the court said.
Justice Mohta said that the reputation of MCA would not have been tarnished merely because some query was raised by a member. "MCA should have handled the situation better," the court said while dismissing the petition.
The MCA lawyer sought a stay to enable them to approach the apex court but the court rejected it and said, "Staying the order will affect the rights of the respondent. MCA shall accept his nomination for representation of the club. This will avoid further complication and eleventh hour rush."