HC tells BCCI to stem the rot

The Bombay High Court on Friday cautioned the BCCI from becoming a "tool of musclemen, media barons and merchants."

updated: September 11, 2007 13:02 IST
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The Bombay High Court on Friday granted relief to BCCI vice president Lalit Modi by dismissing the PIL against his election, but also cautioned the cricket's top body that it must not become a "tool of musclemen, media barons and merchants."

If the rot was not checked, one day government might have to take over the board, judges said in the order.

Further, the judges also expressed a view that management of the board "should be in hands of sportspersons or the sport-lovers."

The PIL filed by Chandrawardhan Parekh was dismissed, as the division bench of chief justice Swatanter Kumar and S C Dharmadhikari held that there was no point in raking up "old and stale" case of drugs possession against Modi.

But in the end-part of the judgement, court observed that "once the BCCI has been put in charge of enoromous funds, and conferred with drastic and wide powers to control, monitor the is of utmost importance that office-bearers are persons of calibre and character."

Judges said that if persons "from all walks of life" enter BCCI for fulfilling their aspirations, "then time will come when sportspersons and sport-lovers will have to take over the board."

"If that is not to happen, then BCCI should take care that those involved in criminal cases do not find place in administration," the court said.

Saying that elections of BCCI are being contested in ugly manner, the court said the board must not become "centre of power politics."

Maintain the spirit

"Elections (at BCCI) ought to be conducted in the same spirit in which the game of cricket is played," court said, further adding, "if BCCI elections got embroiled in the litigation, then there would be no difference in the board and cooperative banks, cooperative credit societies..."

If the board elections are to be fought in the same way as that to the local bodies, then BCCI may think of an alternative, court said.

Court also said BCCI had a monopoly over the administration of cricket in the country for "good reason", and its actions must not "jeopardize faith and trust of the cricket loving public in the country."

Saying that BCCI is performing an "important public function", it said the game is not just about generation revenue or about a business venture."

Lastly, the court said that government can not be oblivious to affairs of BCCI for long.

"It is also for the state to whom the doctrine of public trust applies to take notice of allegations in the PIL (regarding match-fixing, misuse of funds, et al). Ultimately, state can not remain spectator to power game."

"Time will come when state will have to use its power to check mismanagement and mal-administration," the court said in the concluding paragraph of the judgement.