The Supreme Court Wednesday pulled up the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for claiming that its decision of not acting on a complaint by its former president A.C. Muthiah could not be questioned as it was an autonomous private body.
Muthiah had written to the BCCI that the award of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise of Chennai Super Kings to India Cements company was in breach of the cricketing body's rules prohibiting its office bearers from engaging in conflict of interest activities.
He had raised the issue of alleged conflict of interest involving BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan who is also the vice chairman and managing director of India Cements.
Muthiah has challenged a Madras High Court verdict by which it rejected his plea on the grounds of locus standi.
The BCCI could not take a position that being a private body it was not bound to take action on a third party's complaint when the amended rule was approved by all the members of the cricketing body, an apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra told Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati representing the BCCI.
Justice Misra wanted to know how the process of amending the conflict of interest clause was initiated. By the amendment, the holding of Chennai Super Kings by India Cements was validated.
Justice Misra suggested that the BCCI could hold an inquiry into the complaint or go for arbitration. The court said if the BCCI had replied to Muthiah's complaint, the court would not have been burdened with another suit.
Attorney General Vahanvati said that the BCCI was an autonomous private body and not an instrument of the state. He told the court that this position was supported by judgments of the constitution bench of the apex court.
The attorney general said that Muthiah could neither file a suit or a writ petition as he was not satisfying the requirement of the both.
Vahanvati said Muthiah neither had a legal right in the BCCI that had been breached nor locus standi to feel aggrieved.
Vahanvati countered the plea that under the BCCI regulations, Muthiah being an ex-president was also an administrator of the BCCI. He said that these provisions of the regulation had to be read in context of the provisions dealing with misconduct and indiscipline.
Advocate General of Tamil Nadu P.S. Raman defended the verdict of the single judge and that of the division bench of the high court which had rejected Muthiah's plea.
He said that there could be no suit in the public interest. He said that this was an unheard of a situation.