Release funds for ongoing matches in states, SC tells BCCI

RSTV Bureau

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

On Friday, the Supreme Court asked the Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by it to run the BCCI, to release funds to state cricket associations, for organising matches for the ongoing India-Australia test series.

Apart from Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association which is holding the final test in Dharamsala, the bench also considered the pleas of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Jharkhand state cricket associations which organised the last three test matches of the series.

Some state associations drew the attention of the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that a similar issue of release of funds may come up again in holding Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, commencing from April 5.

The bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, said the CoA, state associations and franchise owners will have to comply with the terms of their tripartite agreement to ensure smooth conduct of IPL fixtures.

“It is directed that BCCI shall honour the contractual commitments postulated in the contract so that there is no impediments in holding the test match,” it said.

The direction came when Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Himachal Pradseh Cricket Association (HPCA), said the CoA is not releasing Rs 2.5 crore required for conducting the last test match beginning tomorrow in Dharamshala.

He added that BCCI owed over Rs 8 crore to HPCA and the apex cricket body is “contractually bound” to release the money.

However, he said, the CoA had made disbursement of funds conditional to the HPCA giving an undertaking that it would abide by the R M Lodha panel’s recommendations on reforms.

At the outset, ASG Mehta raised the “emergent” issue of disbursement of Rs 2.5 crore to HPCA for holding the test match at Dharamshala, saying a peculiar situation has emerged where its rightful due is not being paid and to giving an undertaking on the Lodha panel recommendations.

Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for CoA, opposed the plea of HPCA and said that earlier the practice was to pay the money after the match was conducted and they should account for the money.

The bench, in its order, also dealt with issues including the release of funds to state associations for upcoming IPL matches.

“We have been apprised that the matches are going to commence from 5th April, 2017, and there are ten venues in India. There have to be tripartite contracts some have been entered into, while some shall be entered into in due course.

The bench, meanwhile, clarified that if a person has been an office bearer in a state association for nine years, he would not stand barred from becoming an office bearer in BCCI.

Similarly, an office bearer of BCCI for nine years can still get elected and become part of state cricket bodies.

The clarification came when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Railways, Services and Association of Universities, alleged that the CoA is claiming that the apex court order on this issue is not “clear”.

In a related issue, the bench also exempted former BCCI President Anurag Thakur from personal appearance on future dates in a case relating to “obstructing and impeding” the apex court’s directions for overhauling governance in the cricket body.

(With inputs from PTI)