The Bombay High Court on Wednesday accepted the names of retired judges – H L Gokhale and V M Kanade – for appointment as administrators of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) to regulate the functioning of the state cricket body.
A bench of justices Shantanu Kemkar and M S Karnik said that the administrators can take the assistance of experts, or the existing members of the MCA, who hold office in accordance with the Supreme Court order, if they so desire.
While Justice Gokhale is a former Supreme Court judge, Justice Kanade is a retired Bombay High Court judge.
The bench will pass a detailed order on the matter on Thursday.
However, the court permitted the MCA’s managing committee to complete the pending formalities, including the signing of the contract with the Mumbai Indians team, for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) series.
On Tuesday, while hearing a writ petition seeking, among other things, that the MCA’s managing committee be dissolved, the HC had directed the state cricket body and the petitioner to submit names of oneor more retired judges of the Supreme Court, or the Bombay High Court, who could be appointed as administrators to manage its affairs.
The MCA submitted a list of names in a sealed cover on Wednesday and the bench chose the two retired judges following a consensus among the parties.
During the previous hearings, the MCA had told the bench that it was willing to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations, and that it has called for a meeting on April 16.
MCA’s counsel advocate A S Khandeparkar had told the bench that the meeting has been called to approve amendments to its constitution, to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations.
The bench, however, had questioned the sanctity of such a meeting and suggested that the MCA voluntarily accept the appointment of administrators to head its affairs.
The bench had also taken note of the suggestion of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to follow the model adopted by the Delhi High Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court of appointing administrators for the Delhi and Hyderabad cricket associations, respectively.
On Wednesday, it also left the fate of the proposed meeting on April 16 to the administrators.
“We are ordering for the appointment of administrators. While this does not impose a stay on any important pending functions of the MCA, let the administrators take charge, go through your books, and then decide on the meeting,” the bench said.
The MCA had urged the court to not let the appointment affect its pending functions related to the IPL that begins on Saturday.
The MCA’s counsel, senior advocate Rafiq Dada, conveyed to the bench that the renewal of lease of the Wankhede stadium for the IPL, and other liaison work for the series, had to be completed in a day or so.
The bench permitted the existing members or office-bearers of the MCA to complete the work.
However, following apprehensions of mismanagement by the BCCI, the bench ruled that the “sale and distribution” of tickets for the IPL will be managed solely by administrators.
The bench was hearing a writ petition seeking that the MCA’s managing committee be dissolved over non-implementation of the recommendations made in the Justice R M Lodha Committee report.
The petition has been filed by Nadeem Memon, a member of one of the sports clubs under the MCA.
In his plea filed through senior advocate Mihir Desai, Memon sought that the MCA’s managing committee be dissolved, and that one or more administrators be appointed by the high court to manage its affairs in the interim, and implement the recommendations of the Lodha panel report.
The BCCI, too, supported the stand of the petitioner and told the court that considering that the MCA had failed to implement the Lodha Committee recommendations to help streamline its activities and bring about transparency in its affairs, its current managing committee should be dissolved.