In a setback to the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), the Bombay high court ruled on Wednesday that Kings XI Punjab should be allowed to stay in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
A division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice AV Mohta dismissed the
appeal filed by the BCCI, challenging the order of a single judge in favour of King's XI Punjab.
This is the second jolt in as many days for the BCCI, after the same court had upheld a stay on the expulsion of Rajasthan Royals from the IPL.
Unless the BCCI gets an order overturning these rulings, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals are eligible to take part in the player auctions for IPL IV scheduled on January 8 and 9.
Both teams were expelled by the BCCI in October due to alleged irregularities in their ownership patterns.
It could not be confirmed till Wednesday evening whether the BCCI would move the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, after the Rajasthan Royals verdict, board president Shashank Manohar had said that going to Supreme Court was an option.
While dismissing the appeal of the BCCI, the high court observed that the basis of the letter of termination issued to Kings XI was "erroneous and flawed".
"It is abundantly clear that BCCI wanted to terminate the contract on the basis of what was factually incorrect. Termination was anything but fair and was wholly arbitrary," the judges observed.
Upholding the decision of the single judge, the division bench said: "The members of the consortium had exercised control of franchise.
“Neither Dabur nor Windy Investments had exercised 100 per cent control of franchise and all these companies belonged to Mohit Burman. There was no change in share pattern."
The court also dismissed BCCI's argument that under the franchisee agreement, Kings XI Punjab has to go for arbitration and couldn't seek an injunction from the court.
"This will not apply here," observed the court.
The BCCI had terminated Kings XI Punjab's contract, holding the franchise guilty of violating the franchise agreement on three counts.
One of the biggest charges was that the franchisee had changed ownership twice in the first three years, which was not reported to the board.