The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board in third umpire hands
- Court puts new bosses on hold

Chennai, Oct. 8: The boys were not having a particularly good time in Bangalore at stumps. But their guardian was grappling with a bigger problem further south.

Madras High Court today restrained the new cricket board team from 'conducting the business of the BCCI' and has requested a former Supreme court judge to act as 'interim administrator'.

Ranbir Singh Mahendra was elected BCCI chief on the strength of outgoing president Jagmohan Dalmiya's casting vote. A new set of office-bearers was also chosen on September 29 at the board's annual general meeting in Calcutta.

Granting an interim injunction to disallow the new BCCI office-bearers from functioning, a division bench appointed former Supreme Court judge S. Mohan, who had reached Calcutta last month to conduct the BCCI elections but could not do so because of a stay order, as 'interim administrator' for the board.

The judges criticised the board, saying: 'Prima facie we feel that the undertaking given before this court has been breached by the BCCI. Therefore, we are satisfied that there is a prima facie case for granting an interim injunction.'

The judges said they were of the considered opinion 'that the undertaking offered on behalf of BCCI not to disqualify any member from any zone, across the bar, has not been given effect to in letter and spirit, as directed in our judgement of September 29'.

The bench said Justice Mohan should confirm his acceptance of the new post through the registry of the court. If Justice Mohan consents to act as interim administrator, he will be paid a monthly remuneration of Rs 1 lakh by the BCCI.

The bench was passing orders on two related petitions ' one by Netaji Cricket Club in Chennai and another by Maharashtra Cricket Association chairman Dhyaneshwar Chand Agashe. Nalini Chidambaram, lawyer and wife of finance minister P. Chidambaram, represented one of the petitioners.

The club has a record of filing such cases. Agashe, who was not allowed to vote at the AGM, had sought permission to file a revision petition in the high court.

A day before the BCCI election, a high court judge had appointed Justice Mohan as 'commissioner' to conduct the poll on a petition by the Netaji Cricket Club. But before Justice Mohan could take on the new role, a division bench of Madras High Court set aside his appointment, acting on an urgent BCCI appeal.

The bench had then stipulated that the board give an undertaking that no candidate should be disqualified for the chief's post 'on the ground of residence'.

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