Monday's 'life' from the Supreme Court could not have been better timed for Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah. Coming as it does 24 hours before the BCCI is going to decide on the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, the apex court's decision to delist the case of "cooling off" for the Board president and the secretary will have come as a big relief. (More Cricket News)
According to the new BCCI constitution, both Ganguly and Shah have finished their terms as office-bearers. While Shah's tenure ended in May, Ganguly finished his innings on July 27. They were unanimously elected by the BCCI in October 2019.
Speaking to Outlook, Ganguly said he had neither any intention to overstay or challenge anything.
"We have appealed will see how it goes and if the court tells us to go, matter ends there for me and Jay (Shah)," the former Indian captain said.
The rules stipulate that Ganguly and Shah must undertake a three-year "cooling off" from sports administration for having completed six straight years each in a state association, BCCI or combination of both. While Ganguly was president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, Shah served Gujarat Cricket Association, where his father, the Home minister Amit Shah, was president.
In May, the BCCI filed an application in Supreme Court asking for six amendments in the BCCI constitution that was scripted after a high-profile commission, spearheaded by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha, suggested a slew of reforms aimed at better governance, transparency and accountability.
The new constitution has not found favour with the new BCCI officials. By asking the Supreme Court to amend six clauses that has strict rules on tenure and eligibility of members, the BCCI clearly wants to dilute the Lodha committee recommendations.
Since May, the Bench consisting of Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde and Justice Nageswara Rao has twice put off hearing the BCCI matter. Court sources say Monday's hearing was allegedly "taken off" at the last moment when the list was being prepared on Thursday. Outlook reported this development.
Two former chief justices who have been involved with the BCCI matter -- Justice Lodha and Justice Mukul Mudgal -- have completely lost interest in this issue. Both refuse to talk about the BCCI rule book is being contemptuously flouted.
Ganguly doesn't see anything wrong in appealing to the Supreme Court.
"Everybody has an opportunity to go to the court. We could be right, wrong, good or bad, everyone can appeal to the highest body in the country. If they (the judges) allow, you stay or if they don't, you just go...it's as simple as that," said Ganguly.
Given the approximately 30 per cent 'strike-rate' at which the Bench has heard this BCCI case, it is unlikely to take a decision anytime soon, say lawyers connected with the case.
Also, technically, a two-judge Bench cannot overrule an order of a three-judge Bench that had approved the BCCI constitution in August, 2018.
"Till a physical court convenes, it will be a case of buying time and delaying the hearing as long as virtual courtrooms go on," said a senior lawyer who didn't want to be named.
Justice Rao was part of the Justice Mudgal committee that probed the 2013 IPL betting and match-fixing scandal.
"His presence in the Bench gives hope for a fair hearing but a lot will depend on the CJI," said a legal source.
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