Madras High Court dismissed a petition by owner of Chennai Super Kings challenging Justice Lodha Committee’s order suspending the Indian Premier League team for two years over the 2013 betting scam involving its top official Gurunath Meiyappan. (IPL Scandal: Purity of Cricket at Stake, Ex-Judges Suspend Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals for Two Years)
The First bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice P S Sivagnanam, who had reserved orders on the plea on December 14 last, dismissed the petition filed by Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKL) as not maintainable.
The bench also dismissed a PIL filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the suspension of CSK and Rajasthan Royals on the same grounds.
Star-studded CSK, then led by M S Dhoni, and Rajasthan Royals were on July 14 last year suspended for two years from the Indian Premier League in a clean-up exercise following the 2013 betting scam involving their top officials Meiyappan and Raj Kundra. (What’s Next for Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals? BCCI Mull Options)
Meiyappan, son-in-law of the then BCCI chief N Srinivasan and a former Team Principal of CSK, and Kundra, co-owner of Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan Royals (RR), were suspended for life from any match conducted by BCCI.
The punishments were handed down by a three-member panel headed by former CJI R M Lodha which was asked by the Supreme Court to decide the quantum of punishments after finding them guilty of betting. (Chennai Super Kings Suspension Shocking, Players Must Get Fair Deal: Stephen Fleming)
Challenging the order of Lodha committee, city-based Chennai Super Kings, originally owned by India Cements Limited, in its petition had also sought a stay on the committee’s order issued in September last year.
The petitioner had contended that the committee’s order was against fundamental principles of natural justice and a fair hearing.
Opposing the petition, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had argued that the CSKL was not a legal entity and hence cannot file the case.
Senior counsel for BCCI A L Somayaji had submitted that CSK Cricket Limited is only a brand name of the franchise owned by India Cements Limited.
He had submitted that the franchise agreement was between BCCI and India Cements and that the latter had no right to assign or delegate ownership and even if it does it should be done with prior permission from BCCI.
He had argued that CSK Cricket Limited was not at all an aggrieved party and hence the liberty given by the Supreme Court that the aggrieved can approach the appropriate forum for remedy will not entitle it to file the present petition.