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SC removes cloud of uncertainty over India-England test series

 Agencies |  2016-11-09 00:30:38.0  |  New Delhi

SC removes cloud of uncertainty over India-England test series

Supreme Court on Tuesday removed the hurdles created by state cricket associations on the holding of the India-England test series by allowing BCCI to incur the expense of Rs 58.66 lakh for the first match starting on Wednesday, warning that no part of fund will go to the host Saurashtra Cricket Association.

The apex court also gave more teeth to the committee headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice R M Lodha for monitoring the working of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by allowing it to vet hundreds of contracts with vendors for holding of domestic, international and IPL matches in 2017.

It said the arrangement for the first match would continue for the subsequent test matches till December 3, when it will hear the matter already scheduled.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also took strong exception to the language used against the Lodha panel by BCCI top brass, including its Secretary Ajay Shirke in his communication with the panel.

Lodha Committee Secretary Gopal Shankar Narayan, an advocate, complained that the use of words and the statements issued by them was akin to "constant insult" heaped on the panel comprising the former CJI and two retired judges of the apex court.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, drew the attention of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the BCCI, to certain sentences from the Board's secretary's letter, saying "see the kind of language used by Shirke." 

The apex court took note of the submissions made by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, that BCCI has failed to comply with the directions of the top court, which was clear from the second report of the Lodha Committee placed before the bench on Tuesday.

Agreeing with the submission and the demand of the Lodha panel that it needed secretarial support to monitor BCCI's functioning, the bench said, "It is appropriate that the committee is vested with power to engage experts in different specific fields considered necessary for finalising the contracts in question." 

Since this demand was not objected to by the BCCI, the bench said "In the circumstances, we authorise the committee to engage such administrative, secretarial staff and engage the service of experts to determine the amount to be paid by BCCI for contracts for holding various domestic, international and IPL matches for the 2017 season."  

The bench said the remuneration for the experts and the secretarial staff would be determined by the committee and the expenses borne by the BCCI. At the outset, Sibal said, "What we need is an order as the test match is starting on Wednesday and no funds have been released. Let the committee be directed to allow the release of funds, otherwise the match will not take place." 

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