In a setback to the Indian Cricket Board’s efforts of preventing players from joining the Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Delhi High Court on Monday restrained public sector corporations from sacking or taking punitive action against their players switching over to the ICL.
Essel Sports Pvt Ltd, the promoters of the ICL, had filed a petition seeking an order against alleged intimidation of players joining the ICL. Passing an interim order on Monday, Justice SK Kaul said: “In this fight between two giants, I don’t want players to suffer. Why should players have swords hanging over their heads?”
Reacting to the papers submitted by the ICL counsel, Harish Salve, that Indian Oil Corporation and Air India had threatened their players with termination of their contracts if they joined ICL, the court said: “The Public Sector Corporations governed by various ministries will not terminate services or take any punitive action by the reason of its employees (registered with BCCI) seeking to affiliate themselves to Indian Cricket League.”
Notice to state boards
The court also issued notices to to the BCCI, Ministries of Youth Affairs, Sports, Urban Development and Defence, and the Karnataka State Cricket Association on the suit filed by Essel. They have been asked to submit their replies within three weeks. The interim order will come as a big relief for players like JP Yadav and Dheeraj Jadhav, who hold jobs with PSUs but have joined the breakaway league. The players are employed by the PSUs through sports quotas but the BCCI’s decision not to recognise the ICL and ban the players taking part in it had put them in a fix.
“You take whatever individual action you want. But at the moment we are concerned whether corporations can take action against players at the behest of a private body (BCCI),” the court said, adding that the BCCI should wait as the matter would be decided by it on priority.
The BCCI argued that it had the right to take punitive action against the players who were registered with it but were joining ICL.
Salve accused the BCCI of misusing its monopoly power.
“The Chinnaswamy Stadium is used for political purposes, marriage ceremonies, beauty pageants (Miss World 1996) but we are not allowed to use the ground,” Salve said.