Apex Court unimpressed with sidelined BCCI chief chairing Feb 8 Working Committee meeting
New Delhi: The Supreme Court said sidelined BCCI president N Srinivasan should have refrained from functioning as the cricket board chief after the apex court had declared that he was in a conflict of interest situation and could not contest elections.
N Srinivasan. Pic/Getty Images
Referring to its January 2 verdict which held that Srinivasan, head of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings, was in a conflict of interest situation, the apex court bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said yesterday: "Having said that it makes him very vulnerable, we are not very happy about it.
"Where was the need for him to preside over (the Working Committee meeting). We are not very happy about it," the court said, adding: "So long there is a judgment holding him in conflict of interest, we feel when you know you are vulnerable, how can you ignore the fact that when you can't contest election, how can you continue to hold the position (of BCCI president)." "If you can't even be a candidate, can you hold the post," Justice Thakur asked senior counsel Kapil Sibal, who appeared for Srinivasan.
The court's unambiguous observation, disapproving of Srinivasan presiding over the meeting, came as Sibal sought to reason that Srinivasan did not act in violation of the court's order and his understanding of the January 2 verdict was that he was only barred from contesting elections and could discharge functions as BCCI head till new office bearers are elected.
Sibal said there was no contempt as there was no wilful violation of the court's order. Having said that, there was no cover-up by Srinivasan and giving him the benefit of doubt, the court said: "We found that certainly he was in conflict of interest and this makes him very vulnerable. We don't want to sound that we are against somebody. He must have realised.
"These things don't go beyond a point, once there is an announcement of the court," the court said as Sibal tried to impress upon the court that "legally his (Srinivasan) position is vulnerable but within the BCCI there is an enormous confidence in him." "With people like you advising him, people must have realised the implication of our order," Justice Thakur told senior counsel Kapil Sibal apparently pointing that people could not be that naive.
Appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) which has moved the contempt petition, senior counsel Nalini Chidambram told the court that the interpretation of the January 2 judgment that is sought to be placed before it by Srinivasan was a narrow one. "Judgment can't be taken into narrow sense... that he (Srinivasan) stands disqualified to contest but can continue as president of the cricketing body," Chidambram told the court slamming the interpretation of the judgment sought to be projected before the court and added that "we have to understand the scope of the judgment."