Mumbai: The BCCI on Tuesday rushed to the Supreme Court seeking disbursal of funds to the state cricket associations, saying the non-disbursal would lead to cancellation of the first Test match to be played between India and England at Rajkot on Wednesday.
The bench, comprising Justices AR Dave and AM Khanwilkar, said it will discuss the matter with Chief Justice TS Thakur during the day and the CJI will take a call when to hear the BCCI plea. The CJI, who has been heading the bench hearing matters pertaining to implementation of the recommendations given by Justice RM Lodha panel, is currently holding a seven-judge constitution bench.
“There is a problem in holding the Test match commencing from tomorrow. We cannot release funds. There is an order of the Supreme Court asking state cricket associations to file undertakings that they will comply with the Lodha panel recommendations. This has not been done so far,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for BCCI, said.
If money is not given, then the match will be cancelled on Wednesday, Sibal said when Justice Dave said he will discuss with CJI during lunch to explore the possibility as to whether the plea can be heard on Wednesday. The counsel representing the Lodha panel told the bench that the apex cricket body is in contempt by not obeying the apex court’s direction in the issue.
“You (Lodha panel) can proceed in contempt but you cannot stall the matches,” Sibal said highlighting the fact the disbursal of the funds to the state cricket association was vital for holding cricket match between India and England.
The bench, after the brief hearing, asked BCCI to mention the matter again at 2 PM before it.
Last month, the Supreme Court cracked its whip against a “defiant and obstructionist” BCCI, its president Anurag Thakur and GM (cricket operation) Ratnakar Shetty for “undermining” the Justice R M Lodha committee’s directions and ordered the cash-rich body to stop disbursing funds to state units till they abided by its recommendations on reforms in “letter and spirit”.
The apex court, which warned the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) against
“precipitating” the issue, had also directed Thakur to explain by filing “personal affidavit”, the allegation “whether he had asked the CEO of the ICC to state that the appointment of Justice Lodha Committee was tantamount to government interference in the working of the BCCI”.
Shetty, a long-standing cricket administrator and General Manager (Admin and Game development) at BCCI, was also directed by the top court to come clean by placing on record a copy of the authorisation/resolution passed by the BCCI on the basis of which he has filed the affidavit supporting the response of the BCCI to the status report. Both Thakur and Shetty were directed by the apex court to file separate affidavits within 10 days before the matter is taken up for further hearing on October 17.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur noted the submission of BCCI that the cricket body has received Rs 2500 crore towards compensation on account of termination of Champion League T-20 tournament, out of which Rs 16.73 crore each remained to be given to state bodies after disbursal of amounts towards taxes and other liabilities. It also took into account the submission of BCCI that out of the 25 associations, only 13 of them have so far received the balance amount of Rs 16.73 crore each and 12 have not received the amount.
The bench had said the sequence of events after July 18, which are referred to in the status report, “prima facie give an impression that BCCI has far from lending its fullest cooperation to the Committee, adopted an obstructionist and at times a defiant attitude which the Committee has taken note of and described as an impediment, undermining not only the Committee but even the dignity of this Court, with several statements and actions which according to the Committee are grossly out of order and may even constitute contempt”.
It directed that “no further amount in terms of the Resolution passed in AGM on November 9, 2015, or any subsequent resolution by the BCCI or its Working Committee shall be disbursed to any State Association except where the State Association concerned passes a proper resolution to the effect that it is agreeable to undertake and to support the reforms as proposed and accepted by this Court in letter and spirit”.