© Getty Images (Generic Representation)
© Getty Images (Generic Representation)

Bihar, which has been out of competitive cricket for almost 18 years, would start playing national level championships, including Ranji trophy matches, from September this year, the Supreme Court was informed today. Committee of Administrators (COA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which was hearing the plea of Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), filed through its Secretary Aditya Varma.

The plea had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against some office-bearers of the BCCI including for not complying with its earlier order allowing Bihar to participate in Ranji Trophy and other national championships. The CAB had sought contempt action against BCCI‘s acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary, Chief Executive Officer Rahul Johri and its acting president C K Khanna alleging violation of the apex court’s January 4 order.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, considered the submissions of senior advocates Parag Tripathi and C U Singh, representing COA and the BCCI respectively, that Bihar would be playing the national level tournaments from the season commencing from September this year.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, also concurred with the submissions and said Bihar must be allowed to play.  The bench took note of the submissions and disposed of the contempt plea of CAB after saying the state of Bihar will take part in national cricketing events.

Senior advocate Ajit Sinha, representing the CAB, said Bihar, the third most populous state of the country, was deprived of its rights for last 18 years, which had started after the divison of the state and some cricket administrators played a key role in it.

Earlier, the CAB had moved the apex court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against some office-bearers of BCCI, alleging that the BCCI had neither invited any cricket association to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, nor allowed any cricket association from Bihar to participate in the tournament held in February.

The court had then given a ray of hope to cricketers from Bihar, who could not play national-level tournaments for the last 18 years. After the formation of Jharkhand in 2000, a dispute had arisen in the cricket administration of Bihar and two separate cricket associations were formed for the two states.

While the Jharkhand Cricket Association went on to become a permanent member of the BCCI, the BCA (Bihar Cricket Association) first got the affiliation from the apex cricket body but its membership was cancelled later.

Besides the BCA, the state has two other cricket associations — the Association of Bihar Cricket (ABC) and the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) — claiming to be the real representative of the state cricket body.