SC stays HC order against BCCI, restrains Dalmiya

The Supreme Court on Monday made the newly-elected BCCI functional by staying the Madras High Court’s order restraining its office-bearers from running affairs of the board.

But there was bad news for Jagmohan Dalmiya from the apex court, as it stayed the decision of the board to confer him the status of the cricket board’s patron-in-chief.

Even as it faulted the High Court’s propriety in passing the October 8 order restraining the new cricket board from functioning, the bench, comprising Justices N Santosh Hegde and SB Sinha, took note of the “serious irregularities” in the elections held on September 29 and warned that “we may order holding of fresh elections for the board”.

The bench fixed October 26 for the final hearing. The Madras High Court, it may be recalled, had on October 8 restrained the newly-elected board from carrying out its functions, while hearing a petition filed by the Netaji Cricket Club (NCC) alleging foul play in the September 29 elections.

It even appointed a retired Supreme Court judge as interim administrator to run affairs of the board.

The Supreme Court on Monday, after hearing the BCCI, Delhi District Cricket Association, NCC and DC Agashe, representing the Maharashtra Cricket Association, observed that “while everything was not right with BCCI election, everything was also not right with the high court order”.

It also restrained Mr Dalmiya from being elected/appointed as patron-in-chief of the board.”

Appearing for BCCI and DDCA, senior advocate AM Singhvi contended that the NCC had no locus standi to move a petition against the Board and the High Court had erred by entertaining the same in review jurisdiction and passing orders restraining the newly-elected board from functioning.

He said that the board’s undertaking before the High Court was that it would not disqualify any person from contesting for the post of president of the board, which had not been violated.

However, senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Maharashtra Cricket Association’s DC Agashe, who was disqualified from voting, alleged that his client was allowed to vote in favour of Mr Dalmiya for the post of patron-in-chief on September 12, but disqualified from voting on September 29 in the elections for the post of president.

He said the Bombay High Court order did not debar Mr Agashe from voting and accused the former of playing “preferential politics”.

Appearing for NCC, senior advocate Harish Salve alleged that serious irregularities took place during the elections as representatives of two Cricket Associations — Maharashtra and Rajasthan — were unfairly debarred from voting.

Drawing the court’s attention to the tie in the votes polled by both Sharad Pawar and Ranbir Singh Mahendra, he said the outcome of the poll could have been differed had the two representatives been allowed to vote.

Mr Salve argued that if his client was restrained from voting due to the Bombay High Court order, then a similar order passed by the Company Law Board operated against DDCA and its representative should also not have been allowed to vote.

The bench observed that “the facts may be in your favour, but it also prima facie appears that the High Court could not have acted in writ jurisdiction to pass such an order”.

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