PIL against BCCI maintainable: Delhi HC

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/B/Bcci.jpg' class='caption'> In a huge blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the Delhi High court said today that the board is open to some amount of judicial scrutiny.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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New Delhi:

In a huge blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Delhi High court said today that the board is open to some amount of judicial scrutiny since it performs "public functions" and has a duty towards the public. However the court did add that the Board will continue to function as a private body. This order by the High Court was in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Delhi lawyer Rahul Mehra. Long battle It has taken almost five years for cricket enthusiast Rahul Mehra to make some progress in the PIL he filed back in 2000. Mehra and his friend Shantanu Sharma had taken their story to the media. They said the world's richest cricket board wasn't doing enough to promote the game and that its functioning wasn't transparent enough. At the heart of Mehra's PIL was the issue that cricket team that plays for India is Team India and not Team BCCI. "Once they use the name of India on the back of uniforms then they are and should be answerable to each and everyone of us, which is what the honourable court has held. That if you have a certain grievance which has merits on it. Then under Article 226, BCCI which has been saying for the last 75 years that they are not amenable to it is not the correct view point and they have in that sense given a landmark judgement," said Mehra. The court however added that the BCCI will continue to function as a private body and that its own internal rules cannot be challenged. Questions raised However its public functioning can be questioned. So now is when Rahul Mehra's real work begins at the next hearing on November 23.
  • The main agenda of this PIL is that the CAG should be asked to investigate and audit the finances of the BCCI and the DDCA or the Delhi District Cricket Association.
  • The petition also wants BCCI to explain why and how it has permission to use the name India in reference to the team.
  • Abolishing the use of proxy votes - a huge problem in cricket associations - is also a high priority.
  • The PIL also states that unless the BCCI agrees to be more transparent, the government should withdraw all benefits such as tax concessions and land leases for building stadiums.
And in a poll done by MODE in eight major cities, 36% of the respondents felt that the BCCI should function as an independent body. 1,644 people were surveyed and 41% of the respondents felt that the BCCI should remain independent but with a Government audit, while 23% felt that the Government should take over BCCI. Blow to BCCI The latest ruling by the High Court is certainly a major blow for the BCCI, but it does not affect the case in the Supreme Court which comes up on Tuesday. Zee TV is fighting against the BCCI decision to cancel the tender for the television rights for the next four years on similar grounds, which is that the BCCI dispenses some functions that make it like a state body. The Supreme Court is naturally a higher court and need not be influenced by the High Court order, but this decision could still have what they call a persuasive effect.

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