A bench of Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre on Thursday were informed by Narasimha that former apex court judge Justice (retd) DK Jain has assumed charge as the ombudsman of the BCCI and Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Thodge had joined as the third member of the court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA).
“The game must go on,” the bench said, asking Narasimha to act as mediator in the cricket administration disputes.
“Narasimha has to be paid for his role as mediator,” Justice Bobde said instructing the BCCI and CoA lawyers.
However, Narasimha refused to accept any payment, saying ‘he was bound by the orders of the court’. “No, Narasimha. These days people do not trust those who don't take money. It is strange, but people think there is something wrong with them,” Justice Bobde said.
The SC judges were in favour of quick disposal of the BCCI matter, so that all the state associations can become compliant and hold the elections according to the BCCI constitution immediately. The bench on Thursday suggested regular hearing of the case (once a week) after Narasimha gets the chance to go through all the cases and if possible dispose them through mediation.
The bench also asked Narasimha to look into the dispute relating to release of funds by CoA to various cricket associations. Maharashtra and Kerala are some of the associations who have filed petitions in SC claiming that amount due to them from the BCCI have not been cleared although they are fully compliant to new constitution.
Amicus Narasimha will go through all applications regarding release of funds and will pass on ‘appropriate’ recommendations to the CoA. The priority will be Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) as the Pune stadium has been attached by lender bankers due to non-payment of due by the association.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for MCA, had 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.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a state association, had argued that for the last three years, 'not a single penny has been given to the state cricket associations'. While senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for the CoA, 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.
The SC also restrained all other courts in India from entertaining for proceeding with any matter pertaining to BCCI and state cricket associations. The original petitioner in the case and Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) president Aditya Verma also raised the issue of an FIR filed against Bihar Cricket Association (BCA) officials for accepting money to select cricketers in the Bihar team.
The bench directed amicus Narasimha to also look into this matter. The FIR is based on a sting operation by News18 India on BCA officials like secretary Rabi Shankar Prasad Singh. The ball is now in amicus Narasimha’s court and state associations can’t continue to resist on the Lodha reforms anymore.
First Published: March 14, 2019, 5:13 PM IST