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Fresh Twist To Sourav Ganguly's Future As President, BCCI Lawyers 'In Difficulty' To Face Supreme Court

BCCI lawyers have asked for a two-week adjournment. The BCCI is contesting Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah's mandatory 'cooling off'

Fresh Twist To Sourav Ganguly's Future As President, BCCI Lawyers 'In Difficulty' To Face Supreme Court
Sourav Ganguly (left) and Jay Shah are continuing as BCCI president and secretary, respectively, despite their tenures being over as per per the Board's constitution | Courtesy: BCCI
Fresh Twist To Sourav Ganguly's Future As President, BCCI Lawyers 'In Difficulty' To Face Supreme Court
outlookindia.com
2021-02-14T22:30:06+05:30

In what looks a delaying tactic, the legal team of the Board of Control for Cricket in India has sought a two-week adjournment in the Supreme Court hearing on the continuation of Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah as president and secretary of the Board. (More Cricket News)

Both Ganguly and Shah had ended their terms last year and are supposed to be 'cooling off' as per the BCCI constitution that was approved by the Supreme Court in August 2018 and currently in force, but only just.

In a letter dated February 13, 2021 to the registrar of the Supreme Court, M/S Lawyer's Knit & Company, has said that "the counsel appearing on behalf of the BCCI is in difficulty and therefore the appellant is seeking an adjournment for two weeks."

The BCCI matter is listed for hearing in the court of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat on February 16 (Tuesday). Two hearings in Justice Rao's court have been rather fruitless so far.

A screengrab of the letter

There are 14 interlocutory applications listed for hearing on February 16 but the most significant one is BCCI's application (IA No. 49930 of 2020) that is seeking recall of various directions of the Supreme Court and of Justice RM Lodha Committee recommendations.

Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and Haryana Cricket Association, whose funds have been withheld by the Board, have made similar appeals.

The new Board constitution was built on the Lodha reforms and in August 2018 was approved and registered by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, led by ex-CAG Vinod Rai.

SIX CHANGES

In its application to the Supreme Court, the BCCI has sought six major changes in its constitution. The tenure of its office-bearers is one of them. According to Rule 45 of the BCCI constitution: “Any (such) amendment will not be given effect to without the leave of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.”

In an audacious move in October 2019, BCCI elected Ganguly, Shah and Jayesh George as its office bearers despite knowing that all there were just months away from entering a three-year 'cooling off' from cricket administration. 

Shah has been performing as BCCI secretary and at a time when Sourav Ganguly is recovering from back-to-back heart operations, the son of Home Minister Amit Shah has even become the president of the Asian Cricket Council. Usually, Board presidents take turns to head the ACC.

The IPL 2021 auctions are scheduled on February 18 and the BCCI is busy sorting out sponsorship issues since Vivo is keen on quitting as IPL title sponsors.

RUNNING THE SHOW

The letter from the BCCI counsel has not explained the nature of "difficulty" but insiders say it's nothing but a "delaying tactic".

"This is the only way Ganguly and Shah can continue. They are all taking shelter behind an application that is challenging the verdict of a three-judge bench and questioning the wisdom of more than 20 Supreme Court judges, some of them Chief Justices," said a legal luminary.

Justice Rao, a former cricketer, is well versed with the BCCI matter that arose from an SLP filed in 2014 by Aditya Verma of Cricket Association of Bihar on the back of the 2013 IPL betting and match-fixing scandal.

Rao, then Additional Solicitor General of India, was part of the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee that investigated corruption in IPL. It was on the basis of the Mudgal committee report that the Lodha panel was formed by the Supreme Court.

Two BCCI presidents -- N. Srinivasan and Anurag Thakur -- have been banished by the Supreme Court. Will Sourav Ganguly be the third?

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