The Supreme Court Friday set aside the life ban on S Sreesanth and asked the cricket board to reconsider the quantum of punishment. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had banned Sreesanth for life over his role in the spot-fixing scandal in the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The SC bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, pronounced the order on Friday (March 15) over a plea filed by Sreesanth.
The court has directed BCCI to reconsider the punishment within a three-month period. The 35-year-old cricketer will get an opportunity to be heard by BCCI’s disciplinary committee on the quantum of the punishment, the court further ruled.
The Court also clarified that its order shall have no effect on criminal proceedings pending against S Sreesanth.
Representing Sreesanth, senior advocate Salman Khurshid told the bench, “In the context of facts and manner in which these things have happened, this court should consider that it (life ban on Sreesanth by BCCI) is unfair. He has suffered for the last five-six years. People want him to play cricket. He was extremely loyal to BCCI.”
Advocate Khurshid further said it was not clear that any spot-fixing was done in the match played between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab in Mohali in May 2013 and there was no evidence to suggest Sreesanth had received any money for this. “The team (Rajasthan Royals) and its owners were banned for two years only. It is completely unfair that this (life ban) has happened with him (Sreesanth),” Khurshid said.
The bench of Justices Bhushan and K M Joseph had on February 28 reserved the judgment on his plea against the Kerala High Court’s verdict that had reversed the decision of August 7, 2017 by a single judge bench which had lifted the life ban on the the cricketer.
Supreme Court sets aside the life ban on cricketer S Sreesanth. Asks BCCI to reconsider quantum of punishment @IndianExpress
— Ananthakrishnan G (@axidentaljourno) March 15, 2019
Khurshid had argued that if a life ban on cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin, who was accused for his involvement in match fixing scandal in 2000, can be reversed then why can’t the same be done for Sreesanth.
The cricketer had pleaded in the court that his international cricket career was virtually over but he should at least be allowed to play club cricket.
BCCI, on its part, had contended it has adopted a zero tolerance policy against corruption in the sport and the life ban cannot be revoked.
Thirty-six people were accused in the spot-fixing case, including Sreesanth, and were discharged by a Patiala House court in July, 2015. The Delhi Police had subsequently challenged the decision in Delhi High Court.