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CoA & BCCI Prepare for SC Hearing; Appointment of Third Member on Agenda

Devadyuti Das | Updated: February 20, 2019, 1:11 PM IST
CoA & BCCI Prepare for SC Hearing; Appointment of Third Member on Agenda

File image of the Supreme Court and the BCCI Logo. (PTI Images)

It’s been more than a month since the Supreme Court last heard Cricket Association of Bihar’s (CAB) petition against the Committee of Administrators (CoA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The last hearing was on January 17, when the SC instructed former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) PS Narasimha to become the new Amicus Curiae to replace Gopal Subramanium.

That hearing was critical for the fates for then-suspended Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul as the CoA wanted the SC’s help in appointment of an Ombudsman, who according to the new BCCI constitution can decide on the quantum of punishment for the duo. Since then, CoA lifted the suspension over the duo on January 24 ‘pending appointment and adjudication of the allegations by the BCCI Ombudsman’.

The CoA had claimed in a media release on January 24 that the decision was ‘taken with the concurrence of the Learned Amicus Curiae, PS Narasimha’. However, it has now come to light that Narasimha only informed SC that he was accepting the position of ‘amicus curiae’ only last week.

“Narasimha informed the Supreme Court that he is accepting the position of Amicus Curiae on February 14. After that the Court passed the order that the matter will now come up for hearing on February 21 at 2pm in front of Justice SA Bobde and Abhay Manohar Sapre,” petitioner Aditya Verma told CricketNext.

“My question is that if Mr Narasimha was acting as an Amicus Curiae on January 24, why did he wait two weeks to inform SC. The matter could have come up for hearing sooner. If he took over as Amicus on February 14, then one again CoA chairman Vinod Rai made an arbitrary decision to lift the suspensions of Pandya and Rahul when the matter was still pending in the SC,” Verma added.

After officially taking over the new amicus last week, Narasimha had meeting with members of CoA on Monday and the BCCI office-bearers on Tuesday in New Delhi. The amicus curiae needs to be apprised of all the issues going on with the cricket board before he appears before the Supreme Court.

Pandya and Rahul were suspended for five matches by the CoA and BCCI for their inappropriate comments on TV show ‘Koffee with Karan’.

Verma said he will once again take up the matter of CoA being only a two-member body with Rai and former India women’s team captain Diana Edulji as its members. “Vinod Rai has been taking decisions arbitrarily for more than a year now. Whether it was the appointment of Indian women’s coach or the investigation against BCCI CEO Rahul Johri or the suspension handed out to Pandya and Rahul. I am going to request the SC to clarify Mr Rai’s position by appointing at least one more member to the CoA,” the CAB petitioner informed.

The last meeting of the CoA was held back in October followed by their filing of the 10th Status Report to the SC on October 28, 2018. Since then all communication of the CoA are either been held over the phone or through exchange of e-mail. It’s not clear as yet whether the CoA will file another Status Report on Thursday.

Edulji, meanwhile, had turned up at the last hearing in January with her own lawyer to clarify her role as part of the CoA and is expected to do so again. The CoA is likely to ask the SC to appoint a third member to break the two-member deadlock.
First Published: February 20, 2019, 12:34 PM IST

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