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A Goa bench of the high court appointed the panel to monitor the election process © Getty Images

Panaji: The Bombay High Court refused to stay the election process of the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) on a plea alleging non-transparency even as it appointed a committee headed by a retired judge to oversee polls scheduled on June 28.

The petition was filed by GCA’s former president Vinod Fadke, incumbent secretary Chetan Desai and several clubs seeking setting aside of the election process initiated by the cricketing body’s managing committee headed by Dr Shekhar Salkar.

A Goa bench of the high court comprising Justices F M Reis and K L Wadhane today appointed the panel to monitor the election process. The committee will be headed by Justice (retd) A P Lawande, and comprises two members — Nitin Sardesai and Rajnikant Lavanis.

The petitioners had argued that several clubs have been left out of the election process by the Salkar-led group and that entire process is not transparent. The bench also pulled up Salkar for exercising his powers in a “totally arbitrary and unreasonable” manner. It also observed the decision not to allow some clubs to vote because they did not submit names of their representatives 15 days in advance “appears prime facie to be calculated move on the part of Salkar”.

The HC allowed all 104 clubs to vote in the polls on Sunday. The GCA had allowed only 64 out of total clubs to vote as the rest had failed to submit names of their representatives 15 days in advance as mandated by the cricketing body’s constitution. While allowing the election to be held as per schedule on June 28, the HC ruled the results would be subjected to the final outcome of the current petition filed before the bench. The matter would be heard after two weeks.

The order has also set in motion the election process, with the HC asking the panel to scrutinise applications of candidates for the posts of managing committee tomorrow. The order mentions that the court cannot stop the election process but “can issue necessary directions for free and fair election process.”

Salkar’s counsel Sham Diwan had said the HC lacked power to interfere in the election process. “The court cannot consider contention of advocate Sham Diwan. The election process, where there is no fairness and transparency, mandates judicial review and court can always resort to judicial review,” the order stated.