Former India paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth got welcome relief from the Supreme Court on Friday when the apex court set aside the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) decision to impose a life ban for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
A bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and KM Joseph said the disciplinary committee of the BCCI may reconsider the quantum of punishment to be given to Sreesanth within three months. The bench also made it clear that Sreesanth will get the opportunity of being heard by the committee on the quantum of the punishment.
The ball is now in the court of the SC-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), who will have to take a call on that matter. The new BCCI constitution states that quantum of punishment in such cases has to be determined by the BCCI Ombudsman, which currently if former SC judge DK Jain.
"I have heard about the Supreme Court order but we are yet to get the copy of the order. We will definitely take up the issue at the CoA meeting," COA chief Vinod Rai said on Friday.
The CoA is scheduled to meet on March 18 to discuss the anti-doping policy with International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar. The issue of Sreesanth's ban might be discussed on the sidelines of the meeting as well.
"It is a welcome move by the Supreme Court that they have instructed BCCI to have a re-look at Sreesanth's ban. He has already served six years ban for alleged involvement in match-fixing. We are yet to get the copy of the judgement but it is my belief that CoA chairman can instruct BCCI acting secretary to call for a Special General Body Meeting (SGM) of the board to take a call on the issue," Kerala Cricket Association secretary Sreejith Nair told CricketNext on Friday.
Asked whether the matter has to be referred to the Ombudsman now, Nair said, "The SC order says that the BCCI have to reconsider the ban. I don't believe Ombudsman should be required if we can handle the issue in a BCCI SGM."
The SC also said that its verdict shall have no effect on the criminal proceedings pending against the former cricketer in the Delhi High Court, where the Delhi Police has challenged a trial court's order discharging all accused, including Sreesanth, in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case.
The life ban on Sreesanth was imposed by the BCCI for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing during the 2013 season. All the 36 accused in the scandal had been discharged from the case by the Patiala House Court in July 2015.
Despite the same, the BCCI had declined to reverse its disciplinary committee order against Sreesanth, which it asserted was passed on the basis of evidence.
Thereafter, in August last year, a single judge of the Kerala High Court had lifted the life ban and set aside all proceedings by the BCCI. However, on appeal, a division bench of the High Court had restored the BCCI ban, leading to the current appeal in Supreme Court.