A Doosra to Dalmiya

The Delhi High court seems to have taken a very strong position. The age-old mystery -- who the f*&! is BCCI to represent "India" -- is now being argued in the Delhi High Court.

It was Delhi Police with the help of Kerala Police -- who put an end to Hansie Cronje's double-game.

I wish Delhi High Court gives a direction to BCCI to be accountable (also the accounts to be audited by CAG. These Feudal Lords who run the game in India are indeed playing with public money.

Where'd the India in BCCI come from: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the question of maintainability of a PIL seeking an independent investigation into the functioning of BCCI and its accounts involving huge amounts of public money.

A Bench of Chief Justice B C Patel and Justice B D Ahmed reserved the order after BCCI counsel A M Singhvi and petitioner Rahul Mehra completed their rival arguments on the preliminary objection raised by the apex cricket body.

Mehra submitted that BCCI was discharging a public function and was also recognised by the Government and as such it was amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the court under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Contesting his submissions, Singhvi argued that a writ petition was not maintainable against a private body and court did not have any jurisdiction to entertain a PIL against BCCI.

The court pointed out that the Supreme Court has held in several cases that under Article 226 of the Constitution, a writ can be issued against even an individual.

The only test was if the person or body concerned was performing a public function or not. "If it is a public function, the writ would be maintainable," the court said.

Reading from the objects of BCCI's memorandum of association, the court said it was clear that cricket body was performing a public function.

"Who has authorised you (BCCI) to represent India? Has Parliamant passed any law to authorise you? Drop the word 'India' and do whatever you feel like," it told the BCCI counsel and even threatened an inquiry into the financial details of the cricket body by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

In his PIL filed in 2000, advocate Rahul Mehra alleged that BCCI and its member associations were functioning in an arbitrary and opaque manner.

He sought a probe into BCCI's accounts for the past five years from the date of filing the petition contending BCCI and its other member associations were functioning as private empires of some businessmen, who have come to control and abuse cricket for their own interest and profit.

The Bench had on May 14 asked the Centre and BCCI to work out a mechanism to maintain checks and balance, transparency and accountability in its functioning.

Later BCCI filed an affidavit detailing the steps taken by the cricket body for betterment of the game and players in the country but the same was contradicted by the petitioner who alleged that it was nothing but an "eyewash".

"They (BCCI) don't even have a website. The Cricket Board of every country has its own website. Where do we get any information about BCCI? Their financial details are more closely guarded than the nuclear secrets of India," Mehra had said.

Today Mehra pointed out to the court how BCCI had been changing counsel on each date and trying to delay the matter.

When the BCCI counsel said that, "an intrusive and roving inquiry can not be conducted just because the petitioner is saying so." The court observed that "you should welcome that. If you oppose ... it creates suspicion in the public mind".

Centre's counsel Vineet Bhatia submitted that he will have to seek instructions from the Sports Ministry as to how various sports bodies including the BCCI were permitted to use the word 'India'.

Earlier, Centre had told the court that it was unwilling to directly interfere in the affairs of BCCI as it could lead to its disqualification as a member of the ICC.

Petitioners alleged that BCCI and its member associations were acting contrary to the objectives for which they were created and the development and promotion of the game was suffering at the cost of board functionaries.

They sought audit of the accounts of BCCI and other member association by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

In April 2000, the court had issued notices to Centre, BCCI and DDCA on the petition which also sought direction to the Centre to withdraw all concessions, tax exemptions and stadia given to BCCI and its associations until they introduce transparency and accountability in their functioning.

The petitioners also asked the court to issue directions to the Centre to revoke the licence given under Section 25 of the Companies Act to DDCA and abolish the system of proxy voting prevalent in Delhi and District Cricket Association.

The petition was earlier dismissed in default after the petitioners did not appear on one of the dates. However, it was revived late last year.

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