The Bombay High Court has ruled that the two member panel that was set up by the governing body of Indian cricket to look into the alleged wrongdoings of Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan during the 2013 IPL was not in line with concepts of constitution and law. The panel had ruled that both Kundra and Meiyappan were innocent and this had raised many eyebrows. The latest ruling in this matter may vindicate the naysayers but the lawyers opine that even this adjudication may not be sufficient to bar N Srinivasan from returning to the helm of affairs at the BCCI.
Rahul Mehra who is an activist lawyer and has contested several cases against associations in India including the BCCI told the media that the ruling implies that Kundra and Gurunath may not have got away as was being thought. He also feels that someone may need to file a case against Srinivasan if he has to be stopped from taking control of affairs in Indian cricket. It needs to be mentioned here that the BCCI created panel’s discussion was ostracized because it did not feel it was necessary to get in touch with Delhi or Mumbai Police, both of which are investigating these incidents, and gather sufficient proof to authenticate the judgment.
The Bihar Cricket Association has filed a PIL where it has asked questions of the very making of the panel. Desh Gaurav Shekri, a sports lawyer, has expressed wonder at the way the two accused were let go by the sports organization even though the police was still conducting proceedings against them. He also questioned the justification of this ruling questioning the amount of proof at the disposal of the people who made it in the first place. Initially Sanjay Jagdale, the BCCI secretary, was also included in the panel but he resigned expressing his lack of willingness to partake in the same.
Strangely enough BCCI did not think it was wise to replace Jagdale and went ahead with a two man member. Mehra feels that was questionable as well as there might have been some problems if there were any disagreements between the two members. So should we then assume that the result was a predetermined one and the whole process was just eyewash? When the panel was formed there were several questions raised about the legality of the formation of the panel as well as the panel itself and whether the constitution of BCCI was followed or not.
The Bombay High Court has ruled clearly that it was not the case and this means that the findings of the panel are no longer applicable. The time taken has also raised many questions and there seems to be a firm belief among some members of the legal fraternity that the whole process was contrived so that Srinivasan could return to the hot seat as early as possible. The BCCI has the option of challenging the ruling at the Supreme Court but if it is unsuccessful it may need to negate the findings of its panel.
It would then set the cat among the pigeons – questions are sure to be raised about the role played in this instance by the legal experts in the board and why were they silent even when they knowing that a crime of sorts was being perpetrated? What’s worse is that even if BCCI loses the appeal it can, as per its rules, appoint the same people again and conduct the same probe again. This whole incident will leave a bad legacy for the governing body especially for the ones that succeed this administration – the image of the players has already suffered a severe setback and this time it could happen to the administrators as well.