New Delhi, Dec. Dec 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court indicated on Thursday that it may replace the existing office-bearers of the Indian cricket board with a three-member committee as it asked the country’s cricket governing body to suggest the probable names who could be included in the committee.
The bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud sought names from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as it opposed making former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai the observer to head the three-member committee to oversee implementation of the organisational reforms recommended by the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee.
The court also made it clear that it has taken a dim view of the manner in which BCCI President Anuurag Thakur had tried to mislead the court and may haul him up for perjury.
The apex court said that it was a case of perjury and fit for prosecution.
Anurag Thakur is also a member of the Lok Sabha, elected from the Hamirpur constituency in Himachal Pradesh.
Even as senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the BCCI, sought to apologise on behalf of the board chief, Chief Justice Thakur said, “You tell us … you asked for a letter (from International Cricket Council (ICC) President Shashank Manohar) that the presence of the nominee of the CAG on the BCCI board amounted to government interference in the cricketing body’s affairs.”
As Sibal tried to play it down suggesting that was not what the BCCI President meant, the Chief Justice said, “This is exactly what you meant. That is, the nominee of the CAG is government interference. Whom are you trying to…You ought to apologise, if you want to escape. We don’t know what will happen.”
Brushing aside the repeated explanation offered by Sibal, the court asked him: “There was no occasion (for Anurag Thakur to seek clarification from ICC) as this court had directed. Where was the occasion for seeking clarification?”
The matter relates to Anurag Thakur asking the ICC President to clarify on his position which he had taken as the BCCI chief that the presence of the CAG nominee on the board of the apex cricketing body would amount to government interference.
Manohar, himself a prominent Indian lawyer, had said that the position Thakur had taken as the BCCI president was when court was hearing the matter, but now there was a judgment and the question does not arise.
Taking exception to the conduct of Anurag Thakur, the Chief Justice said: “You had sought the clarification so that you can return to us and say this is what the ICC feels about court’s directions.”
The top court’s observations came in the course of the hearing on the first and third status report submitted by the Justice Lodha Committee that had recommended superseding the existing BCCI office-bearers, appointing Pillai as observer and setting up a three-member committee comprising the former union home secretary and two other people, including from the public, to run the affairs of the BCCI.
Amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium had suggested the name of former cricketer Mohinder Amarnath as one of the members of the committee.
While reserving the order on the deliberation on the recommendation by the Justice Lodha Committee, the apex court gave the BCCI a week’s time to suggest the names.