CoA plea for ombudsman: Supreme Court postpones hearing

The next hearing will be held after the new amicus curiae, P. S. Narasimha, appears before the court.

The Supreme Court is likely to make a decision on the matter next week.   -  S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court, on Thursday, decided to postpone its hearing on the plea for the appointment of a BCCI ombudsman. The matter will be decided only after the new amicus curiae, P. S. Narasimha, appears before the court.

It means the chances of Hardik Pandya and K. L. Rahul returning to the Indian team for the limited-overs matches against New Zealand appear bleak.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) had sought the views of the Supreme Court on the punishment meted out to Pandya and Rahul for their inappropriate comments on a television talk show. The committee also sought direction on the appointment of an ombudsman to deal with the issue.

Differences of opinion

There were differences of opinion over the appointment of the ombudsman. Senior advocate Mukul Rohati, appearing for BCCI, said an ombudsman cannot be foisted on since the BCCI is a private and elected body.

The lawyer appearing for the CoA insisted an ombudsman was necessary. He cited the Pandya-Rahul case and said the two cricketers, suspended after their controversial statements, cannot return to the game until an ombudsman decides their plea. Without an ombudsman, the CoA argued, the careers of Pandya and Rahul could be affected.

The court also appointed senior advocate Narasimha as amicus curiae to assist it in the case, after senior advocate Gopal Subramanium withdrew himself as amicus. The next hearing will be held after the new amicus curiae appears before the court.

In a letter dated November 25, 2018, Subramanium had written this letter, addressed to Mr. Ravindra Maithani, Secretary General, Registry, Supreme Court of India: “Due to certain unavoidable personal circumstances, which have recently arisen and demand my attention, I will be unable to continue as Amicus Curiae in the following matters (1) Sri Marthanda Varma (deceased, through LRS) v State of Kerala (appointed AC in August 2012), (2) BCCI v Cricket Association of Bihar (appointed AC in April 2016), (3) KS Kuppuswamy v Kongu Vellar Higher Secondary School & others (appointed AC in July 2016), (4) Mrinalini Padhi v Union of India (appointed AC in June 2018) and (5) Ankur Guthka v Indian Asthama Care Society & Others (others appointed in 2007).”