AC Muthiah seeks Supreme Court restraint on N Srinivasan

Former BCCI president AC Muthiah’s counsel Nalini Chidambaram has been asked to approach the Chief Justice for appropriate remedy AFP

New Delhi: Aug 24, 2011

Former BCCI president A C Muthiah on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to restrain Board Secretary N Srinivasan from discharging his present duties and from assuming charge as president next month.

A bench of justice Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar however, refrained from passing any order on the fresh application and instead directed Muthiah’s counsel Nalini Chidambaram to approach the Chief Justice for appropriate remedy.

Muthiah in his application has sought a restraint on Srinivasan from discharging his duties on the ground that a two-judge bench of the apex court on April 28 had delivered a split verdict and referred to a larger bench the legality of the BCCI secretary owning the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.

The former BCCI president has contended that since a larger bench was expected to take up the hearing it would not be appropriate to allow Srinivasan from discharging his duties as an office bearer of the cash-rich board.

“This Hon’ble Court may be pleased to grant an order of interim injunction restraining the second respondent (Srinivasan) from functioning as the Secretary of the Ist respondent BCCI or assume office as the president,” the applicant pleaded.

On April 28, a two-judge bench of Justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra had given a split verdict on whether an Indian cricket board administrator can hold stake in an IPL team.

The verdict came on Muthiah’s petition challenging the amendment in BCCI regulation to exclude IPL and T-20 tournaments from its purview which he alleged was done to favour Srinivasan who owns the T-20 franchise Chennai Super Kings.

Following this, the case was referred to the chief justice for allocating it to a larger bench.

While Justice Panchal dismissed the petition filed by Muthiah challenging the validity of the amendment in clause 6.2.4, Justice Mishra allowed the petition holding that a BCCI officer bearer cannot have stake in the IPL team.

Justice Panchal said the petitioner failed to prove there was a “conflict of interest” in case an administrator holds a stake in the IPL team and dismissed his petition.

“The appellant(Muthiah) has claimed that there is factual and palpable conflict of interest but he could not explain to the court as to what was the factual conflict of interest and how BCCI was put to financial loss because of participation by Srinivasan in bidding process for the IPL team,” he said.

Justice Mishra, on the other hand, held there is a “strong” prima facie case that the amendment was introduced with an oblique motive to benefit Srinivasan and said he cannot hold the post in BCCI while owing the IPL team.

“In case N Srinivasan opts to continue owning and operating IPL Chennai Super King, he shall be at liberty to do so but in that event he shall be restrained from holding any office in the BCCI in any capacity,” Justice Mishra said.

In a strong indictment of the Board, she said the amendment was done by the BCCI “not to promote the game of cricket but to promote the interest of Srinivasan”.

Muthiah, in his petition, had alleged amendment in the regulation was brought without following proper procedure. Srinivasan, however, alleged Muthiah had filed the petition with malafide intention and that he had no locus standi. (PTI)