The Supreme Court’s judgement on Thursday stated that N Srinivasan would not be allowed to contest the Board of Control of Cricket (BCCI) in India elections till he was clear of conflict of interest. Current chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) N Srinivasan’s dual role as erstwhile president of the BCCI and owner of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise had come under the scanner of the Justice Mudgal Committee, following its investigation into the spot-fixing case.
The committee had indicted top officials of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises for their involvement in betting during the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League. In a further blow to Srinivasan, however, the court also annulled a controversial amendment to the BCCI’s rule that allowed officials to own commercial interests in the IPL and other such tournaments. Srinivisan, however, did achieve a minor victory after he was spared of corruption allegations, although the court did cast serious aspersions. Srinivasan now faces the tough choice of either sticking with CSK or BCCI.
Finally, the judgement also gives BCCI a six- week time-frame to conduct elections, with a three-member committee constituted to oversee it. For Srinivasan, therefore, it is not the end of the road. If he can prove to the court within six weeks that he has completely dissociated himself with CSK, Srinivasan can come back and contest these elections. The verdict does, however, bring a certain amount of closure to the 17-month old case that had cast a dark cloud on the future of Indian cricket. There is no doubt that BCCI is a cosy cartel of vested interests, whose only interests are to protect its massive profits. Although it is a private body and ideally the courts should refrain from adjudicating on matters within its sphere, the BCCI is the sole guardian of cricket in this country. The people of India are its greatest stakeholders. Hence, the court’s intervention in the matter has been timely.