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Court scanner on cricket elections

New Delhi, Oct. 11: In a mixed bag for the cricket board and its challengers, the Supreme Court today reinstated the newly-elected members in their jobs but stayed Jagmohan Dalmiya's appointment as patron-in-chief and hinted it might order fresh elections if they were found necessary.

As it set aside Madras High Court's order naming (retd) Justice S. Mohan as the BCCI's interim administrator, the judges came down strong on the alleged irregularities in the September 29 elections in Calcutta.

'Everything is not all right with BCCI but everything is not right also with the high court order,' the judges said in an interim order. 'If satisfied, we may direct fresh elections for the board.'

Observing that prima facie Madras High Court had not acted properly by restraining the board from taking charge on a review petition by the Netaji Cricket Club, the judges said Friday's order was stayed to 'the extent of appointment of administrator (Mohan)'.

But the court took a strong view as NCC counsel Harish Salve listed alleged irregularities in the election process. Salve contended the Maharashtra Cricket Association had been unfairly barred from voting and that Dalmiya had swung the results in Ranbir Singh Mahendra's favour by using his 'casting vote'.

'The facts may be in your favour, but'. Normally, even if rigging had taken place in any election, we do not restrain the newly-elected body but after hearing this petition we may order fresh elections,' the judges said.

Salve said the cricket board had hardly shown respect for the high court order by locking Mohan out of office when he went to Mumbai to take charge on Saturday morning. Mohan filed a 'confidential' report in Madras High Court today but refused to give out details.

'Look at the extent to which the board goes' they locked the doors and sent away all the employees and staff on compensatory offs,' Salve pointed out.

He also questioned the BCCI contention that selections for the ongoing series with Australia would be affected. The selection committee was a separate body that was duly elected, he said.

BCCI counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi contended the NCC had 'no locus standi' to file a petition against the board and Madras High Court committed an error by entertaining it.

Training his gun on Dalmiya, MCA counsel Fali S. Nariman said the same person who disqualified its chief Dhyaneswar Agashe from voting in Calcutta had 'recognised' his vote in a previous special general meeting to elect the patron-in-chief. It was, therefore, clear Dalmiya was playing 'preferential politics', he said.

The apex court bench of Justices . Santosh Hegde and S.B. Sinha said such issues should be addressed in a separate petition challenging the BCCI elections.

It also permitted all parties to file special leave petitions. The matter has been fixed for 'final hearing' on October 26.

 

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