BCCI constitution doesn’t define misconduct, says legal department

The present matter involving Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul doesn’t fall under the ambit of the Players’ Code of Conduct but CoA, which is the Apex Council, can suspend Pandya and Rahul and conduct an enquiry.

Hardik Pandya (left) and KL Rahul on the show 'Koffee with Karan'.   -  Special Arrangement

After interpreting the relevant clauses in the BCCI Constitution and stating that the Supreme Court appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) is performing the role of the Apex Council, the legal cell of the BCCI, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas represented by Mr. Indranil Deshmukh, has inferred that the CoA can suspend cricketers, Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul for their comments in the celerbrity lifestyle show 'Koffee With Karan.’

Mr. Deshmukh has told the CoA that after taking into account the relevant rules of the BCCI and "considering that the inquiry process against the concerned players has commenced and is pending, it is open for the COA to suspend the concerned players (along with their privileges and benefits) pending enquiry and proceeding into the charges of misconduct until final adjudication. The suspension will however cease, if the said adjudication is not completed within 6 months.’’

Related: Virat Kohli says Pandya's 'sexist' comments not reflective of team

Mr. Deshmukh has also explained that "As per Rule 16 of the BCCI Constitution registered on 21st August 2018, the BCCI exercises jurisdiction over players participating in cricket. Rule 17 provides that the Apex Council has the power to enquire into the conduct of any player and take such disciplinary action against the player as the Apex Council may deem fit, which decision shall be final.

Rule 18 provides that in the event of the BCCI enquiring into the conduct of a player, the BCCI shall proceed in the manner prescribed in Rule 41.

It is thus necessary to read Rules 16, 17, 18 and 41 of the BCCI Constitution (procedure to be followed by the BCCI in case of indiscipline or misconduct by a player, etc) together.’’

The note from Deshmukh also explains the power of the Apex Council that can direct the BCCI CEO to conduct an preliminary enquiry and forward the CEO’s report to the Ombudsman who can impose penalties after hearing the parties concerned.

But most importantly Mr. Deshmukh says: "The BCCI Constitution does not define the term “misconduct” and does not provide any guidance on what the said term entails in the present context. 

Read: Vinod Rai recommends two-ODI ban for Pandya, Rahul

'Misconduct' per se has been defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary to be “any transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, unlawful or improper behavior, willful in character, a dereliction of duty.” 

In a different context, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has opined that the word “misconduct” has no precise meaning, and its scope and ambit has to be construed with reference to the subject matter and context wherein the term occurs.’’

According to the Player Agreements, the term “Gross Misconduct” means "any serious or persistent conduct or omission by the Player which the BCCI reasonably believes to be "Gross Misconduct’’ including any conduct which may bring disrepute to the game of cricket and/or the BCCI including the Office Bearers of the BCCI.”

Also read: Did Pandya, Rahul take permission, asks Chaudhary

Mr. Deshmukh has also revealed that under the BCCI Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials "the present matter does not fall within the ambit of the Code of Conduct and the procedure laid down in the Code of Conduct should not be invoked in the present circumstances because (i) the Code of Conduct primarily relates to on-field offences and only those off-field offences which pertain to criticisms of any incidents occurred in a match or against another player, team, support personnel, match official or the like; and (ii) in any case the procedure stipulated in the BCCI Constitution would have primacy over the procedure set out under the Code of Conduct.’’

The BCCI doesn’t have an Ombudsman and Mr. Deshmukh says that the COA can appoint an ad hoc ombudsman "with a defined specific mandate of adjudicating on the present matter’’ and that he should be a retired Judge of the Supreme Court or a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.

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