In yet another big blow to N Srinivasan that will further reduce his clout in the BCCI, the Supreme Court has declined to interfere with BCCI’s view to bar N Srinvasan from taking part in any of its meetings, saying, the Board was free to stick to its stand that he suffered from conflict of interest so long as a court of law upsets that opinion.
The apex court, while hearing the matter, declined to pass direction on the BCCI’s plea, seeking clarification whether Srinivasan was eligible to participate in board meetings, in view of the January 22 order, declaring him to be suffering from conflict of interest, for owning the IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), further adding that he was also free to question the correctness of the Board’s view, in a court of law.
“We do not see any need for any clarification in our judgement of January 22, which is self-expedient and also does not suffer from any ambiguity,” a bench comprising Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla said.
It declined to go into BCCI’s contention, that post-judgement restructuring of shareholdings of India Cement Ltd and CSK does not free Srinivasan from the charge of conflict of interest.
The BCCI had termed as “sham” Srinivasan’s attempt to divest his shares from the Chennai Super Kings and India Cements Ltd to end his conflict of interest. Srinivasan suggested that the BCCI “should not wash its dirty linen in public” and that all issues should be resolved amicably
BCCI’s counsel and senior advocate, KK Venugopal, had argued that, restructuring of shareholdings of India Cement Ltd and transfer of shares of CSK in the newly-formed trust by Srinavasan on February 23, was a “sham transaction.” His argument was opposed by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who said BCCI’s view to disqualify Srinivasan from participating in the board meeting was not passed through any resolution and was open to challenge.
However, taking note of the submissions from both sides, the bench said, it was not going to deliberate on the development, subsequent to its January 22 judgement.
“Having said that, BCCI is free to take a view about the subsequent development and free to stick to it so long as a competent court of jurisdiction arrives at a decision to upset its view,” the bench said, adding that, “Srinivasan shall also be free to question the correctness of the view in court.” The bench, which said it was waiting for the committee headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha to complete its work and submit its report on a possible reform in BCCI, also refused to refer the issue of Srinivasan’s alleged conflict of interest to the panel.
At the outset, the bench was furious that BCCI had moved the apex court for clarification on the development that arose after the judgement in which the petition was disposed of. “Why did you come to this court for this type of clarification? We are not continuously monitoring the developments in BCCI,” the bench said, adding that BCCI was entitled to take a view on the development that has taken place after the delivery of its verdict.
“If they (Srinivasan) have a problem they will take a remedy. Your (BCCI) stand that Srinivasan still continues to suffer from disqualification due to conflict of interest is your view. Why do you want clarification? You are free to stick to your stand. If Srinivasan has problem, let him approach court… both of you are free to fight it out. Everytime you will come to this court if he will do something. Today he has one arrangement, tomorrow he will have another,” the bench said, subsequently asking the BCCI to withdraw its application, which was agreed to by its counsel.