The Supreme Court has declined to interfere with the two-year-ban imposed on the IPL team by the Lodha panel after noting that CSK had itself made the decision “final” when it withdrew its appeal against the sanction.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India, T S Thakur, dismissed the petition filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who alleged that a conspiracy hatched by elusive former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi had brought down CSK, which had become a symbol of “Tamil pride”. Seeking revocation of the ban, Swamy contended that what could not be directly achieved on the play ground of cricket was sought to be achieved indirectly through an unfair ban denying the people of Tamil Nadu their legitimate pride and unfairly sullying the reputation of CSK by banning its participation in the future editions of the IPL.
It pointed out that nothing prevented CSK to agitate the issues now raised by Swamy in this petition, in the earlier proceedings before the apex court, “which had occasion to do analytical scrutiny of the finding of the probe committee (Mudgal panel)”. The bench underlined that CSK had on July 29 this year withdrawn its appeal against the Madras High Court order, thereby making the decision of the probe committee suspending them for two years “final”. “Suffice it to observe that it is too late in the day to entertain challenge to the findings of the probe committee and including the decision of the committee appointed in terms of paragraph 120.2 of the reported decision (Lodha panel),” stated the 10-page order. The court added that CSK had exercised its legal remedy by filing a writ petition in the High Court, although unsuccessfully, and when the T-20 team has apparently accepted the decision, Swamy could not be allowed to lead a separate battle on their behalf.
“Considering the fact that the decision of the Committee headed by Justice R M Lodha dated 14.07.2015, was unsuccessfully challenged by CSK (who were directly aggrieved by the decision) by way of substantive writ petition before the High Court; and that the adverse decision of the High Court has been allowed to attain finality by them due to withdrawal of the Special Leave Petition, it is not possible to permit the petitioner to question the same decision which has attained finality qua CSK,” it held. The SC also turned Swamy’s argument that when former BCCI president N Srinivasan has been exonerated of charges of betting and spot fixing nor were any team member of CSK were held guilty, there was no rationale in imposing sanction on CSK. The bench said that this argument “will be of no avail” since the terms of inquiry of the probe committee and the Lodha panel were different amd Srinivasan’s role was inquired into for cover-up whether his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was a team official of CSK.