Delhi High Court on Monday rapped DDCA on its decision to remove three selectors from their respective panels, who were chosen at the instructions of court-appointed observer Justice Mukul Mudgal, saying it amounted to contempt and the cricket body had again “crossed its limit”.
A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma said the Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) has again “crossed its limit” when the high court was already seized of the matter and has reserved its order on it.
“We think you (DDCA) are testing everyone’s patience here. This is contempt of court. Evidently, somebody is over- reaching,” the bench said, asking DDCA whether it had informed of the decision to Justice Mudgal, who was appointed last year to oversee its affairs due to various contentious issues in the cricket body.
Recently, the sports working committee of DDCA removed former Indian cricketers Maninder Singh, Atul Wassan and Nikhil Chopra from their respective panels as selectors.
Justice Mudgal, through his counsel Nitin Mishra, moved the court seeking direction to declare the DDCA’s decision as “null and void”.
However, senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for DDCA, said the conflict of interest notice was issued to the selectors, after which the court said it will hear the matter later.
Both junior and senior selection panels, picking teams at the moment, were formed under the supervision of High Court- appointed observer Justice Mudgal, a former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Moving an application before the court, Justice Mudgal said, “Selectors, who were appointed under my supervision through the process of interview by a selection panel, are in process of picking up senior and junior teams at the moment.
“The act of removing the selectors unanimously by certain directors and the convener, sports working committee (DDCA), without any approval from the selection panel formed by me or by the Delhi HC is only aimed to scuttle the domestic season.”
He further said, the selectors were appointed by the selection panel keeping in mind the recommendations of the Lodha Committee on conflict of interest norms.
“The selectors have already selected various teams which are currently playing domestic matches. The removal of senior selectors is only aimed to change the constitution of the playing teams for collateral reasons,” Justice Mudgal said.
DDCA’s Sports Committee had decided to sack Wassan and Chopra from the state’s senior selection panel while removing Maninder Singh from the junior selection panel.
The sports committee included national selector Sarandeep Singh in the panel, citing the general convention that national selectors are always made chairman of state selection committee as it has been the case with the likes of Madan Lal, Kirti Azad and Chetan Chauhan to name a few.
The committee named former leg spinner Rakesh Shukla also in the panel. In place of Maninder, the committee named former wicketkeeper-batsman Vinay Kumar in the panel.
Justice Mudgal had earlier told the high court that some directors of DDCA were wilfully trying to “scuttle” the ongoing domestic season and had sought urgent orders to the cricketing body to implement the directions he has issued since August 22.
He had alleged that some members had used “inappropriate and intemperate language” against him in their emails to him. In a report submitted before the court, Justice Mudgal had said “there has been a deliberate and wilful attempt to scuttle the domestic cricket season 2016-2017”.
Advocate Nitin Mishra, who was representing Mudgal, had urged the court to consider the report while delivering its verdict.
The court on September 27 had reserved its verdict in the matter which pertains to DDCA’s 2010 plea for an occupancy certificate from South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to hold matches at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium.
The HC had constituted Justice Mudgal committee in the backdrop of alleged irregularities in the functioning of DDCA.
Justice Mudgal had sought directions to DDCA that all the directions issued by him from August 22 till date should be fully complied with, the agreements entered into during his tenure be fully honoured and payments made therefor, within a week of the receipt of such bills/invoices.