The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the case pertaining to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul to next week, thus ruling out an imminent return for the pair to the Indian set-up. The court deferred the hearing on multiple applications related to the BCCI for after the appointment of an amicus curiae after Gopal Subramanium withdrew himself from the position.
The Committee of Administrators had mentioned before the court the comments made by Rahul and Pandya on the chat show ‘Koffee with Karan’ and sought directions on the appointment of an ombudsman to investigate into the issue. The two-judge bench of Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre nominated PS Narsimha as a replacement to Subramanium who has been amicus curiae in the case for the past few years before adjourning the rest of the matter for next week.
Earlier, in correspondence between the members of the CoA and the BCCI, Diana Edulji had stated that the court should appoint an ombudsman to conduct the investigation into the comments made by the two players. “As the SC hearing is scheduled for 17th Jan, let the court be informed about this situation and let an Ombudsman be appointed by the court instead of taking a wrong step of appointing the ad hoc ombudsman, which is not as per the new constitution,” said Edulji.
The two players, in a phone conversation with BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, expressed regret over their comments. Johri was to collate whatever the two players had written in their showcause reply. He did not ask any questions on whether their agents pressurised them into attending such the entertainment show and also speaking in the manner that they did as any investigative question is the purview of the ombudsman.
The two players’ comments, particularly those made by Pandya, in the show hosted by film director, producer and television personality Karan Johar was called out as sexist and misogynistic among other things. CoA chief Vinod Rai recommended a two-match ban on the duo but his colleague Diana Edulji took the matter to the BCCI legal cell, which refused to call the players’ actions a violation of the code of conduct and recommended the appointment of an ombudsman.
The BCCI office-bearers seconded Edulji and even went to the extent of demanding a Special General Meeting to discuss the matter. Rai, on the other hand, has cautioned against going too far. In an e-mail to Edulji, he has stated that the “BCCI is not in the business of ending young careers.”