M A I N   N E W S

Relief to Ranbir as SC stays HC order
Stay on Dalmiya as Patron
Our Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 11
In a major relief to the newly elected BCCI President Ranbir Singh Mahendra and its other office-bearers, the Supreme Court today stayed the Madras High Court order restraining them from taking charge on the allegations of “irregularities” in the elections. It also stayed the appointment of Justice (retd) S. Mohan as Administrator of Board in the interim period.

However, former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya suffered a severe jolt as the Court stayed his election/appointment as the Patron-in-Chief of the board with a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice S.B. Sinha indicating that “they may order fresh elections to the BCCI if the irregularities are established.”

The order came as much-needed relief to new BCCI chief and other office-bearers whose election was challenged by Chennai-based Netaji Cricket Club (NCC) alleging that the Board had illegally cancelled the vote of Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) representative C.D. Agashe, which resulted in Dalmiya using his “casting” vote in favour of Mahendra to ensure his victory against Sharad Pawar.

But the Supreme Court was not satisfied with the High Court order, saying “prima facie” it appeared that it had not “acted properly” by restraining the BCCI office-bearers from taking charge of the office and appointing an Administrator for running the affairs of the Board.

The apex court said in election matters no “injunction can be given in the interim order if the election is challenged and the elected persons restrained from holding the post.”

At this stage, when NCC counsel Harish Salve pointed out that his client would have no objection to stay the High Court order provided fresh election to the BCCI was ordered by the apex court.

The issue against Dalmiya about staying his election as the Patron-in-Chief in a BCCI meeting on September 12, was clinched by Agashe’s counsel Fali S. Nariman, who pointed out from a letter written by the former Board chief to MCA, clarifying that there was no bar on Agashe attending and voting in the said meeting on the issue.

“If Agashe’s voting for the election of Dalmiya as Patron-in-Chief was right on September 12 how his right to vote in the BCCI election was cancelled,” Nariman asked and alleged that it amounted to “irregularities” in the election.

Dalmiya’s counsel Gopal Subramaniam and the BCCI counsel A.M. Singhvi denied any irregularities in the election and challenged the stay order on ground that the High Court had “ignored” its earlier order when Justice Mohan’s appointment as supervisor for the election was stayed by the same division Bench, which restrained the Board office-bearers from taking charge on October 8.

In that order, the High Court had recorded the BCCI’s categorical undertaking that no nomination for the elections would be cancelled. This did not apply to Agashe as MCA was restrained by the Bombay High Court from taking any decision regarding his representing it in the BCCI election because of the dispute among the two factions of the association was pending before it, Singhvi said.

In these circumstances, there was no reason for the Madras High Court to come to the “prima facie” conclusion that there were “irregularties” in the election.

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