Conflict of Interest Petition against N. Srinivasan dismissed

Bombay High Court: In a recent order, a bench comprising of Anoop Mohta and NM Jamdar, JJ dismissed a PIL filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar, challenging the two amendments carried out by the Board of Control for Cricket for India, in its rules and regulations which they claimed indirectly facilitated the re-appointment of its president N Srinivasan. The PIL challenged the BCCI’s amendment of Regulation 6.2.4, which states that except Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20, no administrator, officer, player or umpire shall have any direct or indirect commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the board. It also challenged amendment to clause 15, whereby rules concerning zone wise rotational policy of nominating board president were revised.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocates Nalini Chidambaram and Birendra Saraf, argued, that it was only after this amendment that Srinivasan, who is the owner of India Cements, became eligible to own Chennai Super Kings.  The petition alleges the changes were made to facilitate re-election of Srinivasan. They further alleged that the amendments were carried out after a unanimous decision of the BCCI committee but subsequent events like the IPL match-fixing scandal, in which Srinivasan’s son-in-law was an accused highlighted the conflict of interest. They also argued that even though the BCCI is bound by its objects framed and the rules and regulations, the possibility of having a direct impact on the selection of players for the Indian team cannot be ruled out if any member had a commercial vested interest.

Advocate Iqbal Chagla, appearing for BCCI, opposed the PIL on grounds of maintainability stating that the petitioner was not a member of BCCI and thus no third party can oppose to its rules and regulations. It was also argued that this could be a proxy litigation.

The Court observed that they are only concerned with whether the amendments were within the framework of law and regulation or not, and that who will be benefited out of such amendments and/or who will use or misuse, is not the Court’s concern. Looking at the positive side of the amendment, the Court held that the  unanimous decision  taken by the BCCI while performing its alleged public duties and functions, cannot be stated to be contrary to the aims and object of body or any law or public policy and thereby dismissed the appeal. Cricket Association of Bihar vs. The Board of Control for Cricket in India, 2014 SCC OnLine Bom 1665  decided on 11-11-14


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