The Supreme Court was told Tuesday that unlike other private clubs, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was a unique body which enjoyed monopoly control over the game of cricket within the country.
In the international arena, "the BCCI is the medium through which Indian colours alone could be displayed on the cricket field", the apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra was told by senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the petitioner and former BCCI president A.C. Muthiah.
Muthiah is before the apex court saying that the BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan was involved in a conflict of interest situation as his company M/S India Cements was the franchisee of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
Srinivasan is both the Vice-Chairman and the Managing Director of M/S India Cements. The court was told that the BCCI rules prohibits its office bearers from engaging in activities that conflict with the commercial interests of the cricketing body.
Muthiah has challenged the Madras High Court order declining his petition on the grounds that he enjoyed no locus to agitate the issue.
The senior counsel Singhvi told the court that the extent of conflict of interest could be gauged from the fact that Srinivasan admittedly combined four positions in him.
The court was told that Srinivasan was Vice-Chairman and the Managing Director of M/S India Cements, secretary of BCCI, and being secretary of the cricketing body he was ex-officio member of the IPL governing council and was also the chairman of the Managing Committee of IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
Assailing the amendment to the BCCI rules permitting its office bearers to bid for IPL franchisees for 20Twenty championship, Singhvi said that the latter was the juiciest (in terms of money spinning) of cricketing events organized by the BCCI.
The senior counsel ridiculed retaining the conflict of interest clause for Test matches while exempting the IPL's 20Twenty championship from it. He said that interest was waning even in One Day Internationals (ODIs).
The Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati told the court that the conflict of interest clause could not be extended to 20Twenty championship as this version of cricket did not exist when the rules were framed.
Singhvi said that rules are not changed with every new development. All the cricketing activities being controlled and organized by the BCCI would be covered by the conflict of interest clause. The arguments will continue on Wednesday.