The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by it to run the BCCI to release funds to state cricket associations, including HPCA, which is holding the last India-Australia test, for organising matches. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra also considered the plea of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jharkhand state cricket associations, which have organised the last three Test matches of the ongoing series, and asked the CoA to release funds to them in accordance of the terms of the contract.
Some state associations drew the attention of the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that a similar issue of release of funds may come up again in holding Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, commencing from April 5.
The bench then said the CoA, state associations and franchise owners will have to comply with the terms of their tripartite agreement to ensure smooth conduct of IPL fixtures. “It is directed that BCCI shall honour the contractual commitments postulated in the contract so that there is no impediments in holding the test match,” it said.
The direction came when Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Himachal Pradseh Cricket Association (HPCA), said the CoA is not releasing Rs 2.5 crore required for conducting the last test match beginning tomorrow in Dharamshala. He said BCCI owed over Rs 8 crore to HPCA and the apex cricket body is “contractually bound” to release the money. However, he said, the CoA had made disbursement of funds conditional to the HPCA giving an undertaking that it would abide by the R M Lodha panel’s recommendations on reforms.
HPCA is a registered company under section 25 of the Companies Act and any changes in compliance with the panel’s recommendations can only be undertaken by the general body and disbursement of funds, as stipulated under the contract, cannot be linked, he said.