A day after directors of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) raised objections to the panels constituted by Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal to oversee the functioning of the cricketing body, the Delhi high court issued contempt of court notices to DDCA President SP Bansal and the lawyers who had given legal advice to the body. DDCA had raised the issue that justice Mudgal had “overstepped the court’s orders” and had filed a plea to initiate contempt proceedings against the retired judge.
The Delhi high court bench of justice S Ravindra Bhat and justice Deepa Sharma, however, observed that Mudgal had been appointed by the court itself and had been granted the authority to “administer” the functioning of the cricketing body. The bench also noted that Mudgal had been asked to oversee the “entire administration” for both domestic and international cricket matches by the court itself.
The DDCA president had sought opinion from the legal firm of Gautam Dutta and Sanjay Dhawan regarding the decision by Justice Mudgal to appoint a panel to pick selectors. The lawyers had advised the DDCA to move a contempt of court plea, “for the deliberate and willful disobedience and disregard for the orders passed by the Hon’ble Delhi high Court.” The bench took exception to the legal advice, and observed that the Court had granted powers to Justice Mudgal. “Prima facie, DDCA’s conclusion (based on legal opinion by Dutta) questioning Justice Mudgal’s role amounts to contempt of the orders of the court,” observed the bench. The bench has now asked Dutta to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him. The court was responding to a contempt application filed by the DDCA questioning the scope and jurisdiction of Mudgal appointment for overseeing the functioning of the cricket body. Based on the legal opinion of Dutta and Dhawan, DDCA had written a letter to Mudgal on Sunday, in which questioned his decision to form panels for conducting the cricket body’s affairs.
According to the legal opinion, Mudgal only had to oversee and supervise the Test match and later the T20 World Cup and IPL matches to be held at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Mudgal had recently formed two panels to pick selectors, coaches, managers and other support staff for men and women cricket teams, a decision that was criticized by DDCA directors.
“Justice Mudgal’s team have defiantly exceeded the scope and jurisdiction of the said mandate of the assignment thus rending the hurriedly appointed Selection Panel ignoring all principles of transparency, consensual by ignoring and suppressing the merit of opposition by the majority Directors of the Board of Directors of the DDCA, thus rendering the decision illegal and void,” says the opinion rendered by the firm.