The Supreme Court on Sunday allowed BCCI's Acting Secretary Amitabh Chaudhary to represent the cricket board at the ICC meeting next week while holding that former board president N Srinivasan cannot represent the body as he has been held guilty of "conflict of interest" and "abuse of authority".
The apex court also directed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) CEO Rahul Johri to accompany Chaudhary at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting on April 24.
"It is directed that Amitabh Chaudhary shall represent the BCCI in the ICC meeting and Rahul Johri shall accompany him and he (Johri) will also attend the meetings of the CEOs'," the bnech, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and and D Y Chandrachud, said.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said since Srinivasan has been held guilty by the apex court for conflict of interest, he cannot be allowed to represent the BCCI in the ICC meeting.
The court was informed that Srinivasan and Niranjan Shah, who were rendered ineligible to become office-bearers in the BCCI and state cricket associations by virtue of the apex court's verdict, could participate in tomorrow's special general body meeting of BCCI and may be nominated to take part in the ICC meeting.
"N Srinivasan cannot go (for ICC meeting)," the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
"This person (Srinivasan) was held guilty by this court for conflict of interest and abuse of authority. He cannot go," the bench said, adding "a man, once having a conflict of interest, cannot go".
"Regard being had to the significance of representation of the BCCI in the said international body, i.e. ICC, it is directed that Amitabh Chaudhary shall represent the BCCI before ICC and Rahul Johri shall accompany him and also attend the meeting of the chief executive officers," the bench said.
The top court, on January 22, 2015, had barred Srinivasan from contesting any BCCI polls unless he forsakes ownership of an IPL team.
The court had also assailed the amendment in BCCI rules permitting cricket administrators like Srinivasan to have commercial interest by owing teams in IPL and Champions League and had said it was bad on grounds of conflict of interest.
During the hearing today, senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocates representing the parties in the matter said that Chaudhary was a qualified person and was well-versed with all the facts. So he could be nominated to attend the ICC meeting.
Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA), said the issue was whether a person who has been disqualified by virtue of the court's verdict, could be nominated to represent the BCCI in ICC meeting in which revenue-sharing between the members of the apex cricket body would be discussed, apart from other issues.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for the cricket associations of the armed forces, association of universities and Railways, told the court that a person having the know-how and experience of at least 15-20 years in the affairs of cricket body should go to attend the ICC meeting.
To this, the bench said, "we agree on this. We can send this second man (Niranjan Shah) who is 74 years old but having an experience of 40 years."
"We have names of two persons in our mind, Shah and Chaudhary," the bench said, after which Chidambaram said the court can appoint anyone to attend the ICC meeting but Johri should be allowed to accompany him.
"We will zero in on Amitabh Chaudhary, who is the acting secretary of BCCI," the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on July 14.
When the bench said that Srinivasan cannot be allowed to go to attend ICC meeting, Sibal said neither Srinivasan, nor Shah has been disqualified by virtue of the court's order.
He said Srinivasan was given a clean chit by the apex court but the bench was not inclined to consider his name.
The bench then asked Sibal and other advocates to suggest names who could be appointed to attend the ICC meeting. Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who has been assisting the court as an amicus curiae, told the bench that a person who has been disqualified cannot represent the BCCI in the ICC meeting.
He said that various state associations have not complied with the apex court's orders and they cannot nominate someone, who has been disqualified, as nominees to represent BCCI in ICC meeting.
The court was hearing CoA's interim application seeking clarification on whether persons, who are rendered ineligible to hold posts in cricket bodies as per the July 18, 2016 judgement, can be nominated as BCCI representative to take part in the ICC meeting.
The CoA had said the apex court had accepted suggestions of the Justice R M Lodha panel on the issue of eligibility criteria for becoming office bearers in the BCCI and state cricket bodies and one of the conditions was a person, above the age of 70 years, could not hold an office in these bodies.
Earlier, the court had accepted major recommendations of the Lodha committee on reforms in the BCCI including a bar on ministers and civil servants and those above 70 from becoming its members but left it to Parliament to decide whether it should come under RTI and betting on the game should be legalised.
It had also accepted the recommendations of the panel that there should be a CAG nominee in BCCI and one-state-one- vote principle be applied.
(With PTI inputs)