Entangled in legal matters, Rajasthan Cricket Association President Lalit Modi on Friday appointed a three-member arbitration tribunal to look into the contentious issues raised by some district associations against him and decide if he is fit to continue at the high-profile post.
The bench of arbitrators comprises retired Supreme Court Chief Justice R C Lahoti, retired apex court Justices Kuldeep Singh and Justice A R Lakshmanan.
Modi said his action is as per the Article 43 of the bye-laws of the RCA, which makes it a duty of the President to refer any dispute relating to constitution, management and election of the Association to Arbitration.
Hoping to put an end to all controversies and any doubt with regard to the impartiality/integrity of the arbitrators, Modi appointed the eminent judges to arbitrate mainly on the validity of amended constitution, the RCA elections and allegations of financial irregularity, among other issues.
Modi is in danger of being stripped of absolute powers he was enjoying as the RCA President as about 24 of the 32 district units, including that of Secretary Subhash Joshi, handed a memorandum to Registrar of Societies.
The district associations are also pressing hard to revert to RCA's old constitution as Modi, with the backing of then Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, had managed to bring a 'Sports Ordinance' in the state in 2005.
Riding on the contentious clauses of the ordinance, Modi was able to rout the Kishore Rungta-faction in the RCA elections in 2005. He formulated new constitution for RCA which provided absolute powers to the President.
In the resolution adopted by the RCA on January 28 it was decided to move the Apex Court to seek appropriate directions with regard to holding of the election for the Association immediately.
The election was last held on February 21 and since the term of the elected body is four years as per the constitution of RCA, such a resolution became imperative, Modi said.
Accordingly RCA secretary Subhash Joshi approached lawyers to move the Apex Court before retracting, which led to RCA President Modi to move the court as per the resolution and curtail Joshi's power and authority.
The application was moved by Abhishek Manu Singhvi before the Chief Justice wherein he strenuously argued that the elections are due on the February 21, 2009 as the four year term of the existing committee was coming to an end.
However, the apex court listed the matter for February 23 keeping the urgency in view.
Modi said he was constrained to invoke his emergency powers provided under Article XI(1)(IX) of the Memorandum and Rules and Regulations of the Association to divest Subhash Joshi of all his rights, powers and duties as the Honorary Secretary of the Association.
An FIR had also been lodged against Modi on forgery and criminal conspiracy charges at Nagaur Kotwali police station.