The BCCI pleaded on Tuesday that Chief Justice of India TS Thakur should recuse from hearing its review petition in the Supreme Court on implementation of reforms in the world’s richest cricket board.
The review petition was filed after the bench of justices Thakur and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, who has since retired, ordered the BCCI on July 18 to implement the RM Lodha committee recommendations for administrative changes in the cricket body.
The board pleaded for an open court hearing and recusal of the CJI, alleging that Thakur “seems to have a prejudiced approach” against the BCCI.
Review petitions are not heard in open court and decided by a practice called “hearing by circulation” in which advocates are not allowed to present arguments.
BCCI sources alleged the CJI is biased because he mocked at the board during the hearing.
“He made fun of Jagmohan Dalmiya and commented that the board appointed a demented person as the BCCI chief. Dalmiya became unwell after he took over as the head. And when the CJI made the remarks, he was no longer alive,” a board source said.
The Lodha panel in its 159-page report released on January 4 had recommended sweeping changes. Among other things, it wanted ministers and government officials to be barred from holding office in the BCCI. It also recommended fixed three-term tenure for office-bearers and a cooling off period in between each term.
On July 18, the Apex court gave its final nod to the Lodha panel report.
Objection to comments
According to sources, the board has also objected to Justice Thakur’s comments that cricket has grown despite BCCI.
Thakur’s recent statement against the board during the hearing of a petition seeking judicial intervention in the functioning of the All India Football Federation too hasn’t gone down well with the board.
Asking the petitioners to approach the high court in the football association case, Thakur had noted that the sports body required a BCCI-like cleansing. “He is not in a position to decide objectively and fairly because he is biased,” said a BCCI lawyer.
Doctrine of separation
The review petition also talks about how SC has disregarded the doctrine of separation of powers. It said parliamentary and state enactments have been ignored by the top court, which also overlooked many binding judgments that hold that the SC is not empowered to make laws.
“A lot of associations are registered under the Companies Act. BCCI is a body under the Tamil Nadu Societies Act under which the board can have its own constitution. The law permits only the registrar of societies to look into disputes. But in this case no complaint has been made to the registrar against the BCCI,” said the source.
The review petition stated that the court could not have re-heard the case all over again once it had disposed of the case in 2015 when the apex court constituted the Lodha committee.