SC appoints Justice Jain as BCCI Ombudsman

Updated on : Feb 21,2019   7:42 pm

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) AThe Supreme Court on Thursday appointed its former judge Justice D.K. Jain as BCCI's first Ombudsman for the resolution of disputes arising in the apex cricketing body in the course of administration of its affairs.

The top court bench of Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre appointed Justice Jain as Ombudsman after all the lawyers representing different parties agreed on his name out of the six suggested by amicus curiae P.S. Narasimha.

"We...appoint...Justice D.K. Jain, a former judge of this court, as the first Ombudsman under Article 40 of Chapter IX of the Constitution of the BCCI framed by this court vide order dated 9.8.2018. ...Justice D.K. Jain shall assume charge of the office as early as possible. P.S. Narasimha, amicus curiae, may settle all terms relating to the functioning of the newly-appointed Ombudsman," the court said in its order.

The court also appointed Lt Gen Ravi Thodge to act as a third member of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) for BCCI headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Vinod Rai.

The slot became vacant after noted historian Ramachandra Guha and Vikram Limaye left the committee.

While Guha had cited personal reasons for quitting the CoA, Limaye had sought to be relieved from CoA upon his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of the National Stock Exchange.

As some of the lawyers, including Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior counsel Kapil Sibal appearing for the state cricket associations, pressed for the hearing of certain applications including the release of funds, Justice Bobde said: "As long as people are playing cricket, as long as cricket is going on, we are not bothered."

Refusing to get into the finances of the apex cricketing body, Justice Bobde told Narasimha that the CoA can seek his advice and release the funds being sought by its state affiliates.

Newly-appointed amicus curiae Narasimha on Thursday gave a brief account of the proceedings in the matter since 2014 and about 80-odd applications that are pending adjudication.

Narasimha told the court that three-fourths of the journey in the BCCI matter has already been traversed and the remaining stretch appears to be the most difficult one.

Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra Cricket Association, told the court that the "three-fourths of the journey traversed so far was without our assistance" and expressed reservations over the correctness of the course of journey undertaken so far.

The court issued notice on a plea by former BCCI President Anurag Thakur seeking expunging of certain remarks against him by the top court while accepting his unconditional apology on July 14, 2017. Thakur had tendered unqualified apology after he attracted contempt proceedings by the top court.

Thakur had earned the ire of the court for not candidly telling it that the BCCI had asked for a letter from the International Cricket Council to say that the appointment of a CAG nominee on the BCCI board amounted to government interference in its affairs.

The top court by its January 30, 2017 order had set up a four-member committee of administrators to run the affairs of cricket in the country.

The CoA headed by Vinod Rai had noted historian Ramchandra Guha, Managing Director & CEO of Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) Vikram Limaye and former women's cricket captain Diana Edulji as its members.

The top court had on July 14, 2017 accepted the resignation of historian Ramachandra Guha and Vikran Limaye from the Committee of Administrators.