Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

Supreme Court clears decks for Lalit Modi’s return

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Posted: April 30, 2014 11:59 pm

In what may mark the comeback of beleagured former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi to the Indian cricket scene, the Supreme Court on Wednesday paved the way for announcement of results of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA), in which the Modi faction has already claimed victory.

Following at least half a dozen adjournments on the contentious issue of declaration of results, a bench led by Justice Anil R Dave directed the court-appointed election officers to open the sealed ballot box and make the results public on May 6.

It said that the election officers should announce the results officially after calling a meeting of the RCA.

The bench, however, also said that it was up to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to take whatever action it wants, as per rules and regulations.

BCCI has been opposing Modi’s return, and has warned RCA of stringent action for allowing Modi to run for the post. BCCI had also raised objections against accepting the nomination of Modi despite a life ban imposed on him.

The court has also said that in case of any dispute regarding the elections, the candidates could approach the appropriate forum for redressal.

During a previous hearing, the BCCI had conceded that it knew Modi had received the most votes, and that he would emerge a clear winner. It had moved the SC after the RCA declared that it could not bar Modi from contesting.

Pursuant to the decision by its working committee, BCCI intervened in a matter already pending before the court, wherein the Rajasthan Sports Act, 2005 has been challenged. Former RCA secretary Kishore Rungta had filed this petition, specifically challenging the provision that abolished voting rights for individual members.

BCCI’s petition claimed that any sort of association of Modi with the RCA’s affairs would badly affect the image of the Board. The BCCI had in September 2013 slapped a life ban on Modi for financial irregularities when he was Indian Premier League commissioner from 2008 to 2010.

The petition added that Modi’s nomination was not right, and that the RCA had rejected the Board’s objections to the former IPL commissioner’s candidature.

The Rajasthan elections were conducted under the court order. The court had appointed Justice N M Kasliwal, former judge of the Supreme Court, and Justice S P Pathak, former judge of Rajasthan High Court, as observers. Both observers had rejected all objections and allowed Modi to contest for the post of RCA president.

After Modi was allowed to contest, BCCI’s secretary Sanjay Patel had threatened RCA with expulsion if Modi was to represent a district in the state unit’s election. In response, RCA officiating secretary K K Sharma had said that the objections to Modi’s candidature were “wholly misconceived”, since the RCA was governed by the provisions of Rajasthan Sports Act and not by BCCI rules.

Subsequently, the BCCI working committee decided that the BCCI would become a party in the Supreme Court to challenge the RCA polls and clarify its position.

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