NCC questions legality of ombudsman interference

The former Secretary of the National Cricket Club (NCC), Kolkata, K. P. Kajaria, has sought confirmation from BCCI ombudsman, Justice (Retd.) A.P.Shah, on whether the BCCI’s Rules and Regulations have given him the authority to consider any complaint relating to the internal affairs of a BCCI member.

The BCCI Ombudsman A.P. Shah (in photo) had addressed a letter to K. P. Kajaria on the latter's alleged misconducts as an administrator.   -  PTI (File Photo)

The former Secretary of the National Cricket Club (NCC), Kolkata, K. P. Kajaria, has sought confirmation from BCCI ombudsman, Justice (Retd.) A.P.Shah, on whether the BCCI’s Rules and Regulations have given him the authority to consider any complaint relating to the internal affairs of a BCCI member. On January 7, Justice Shah had addressed a letter to the NCC (through Secretary Mr. K. P. Kajaria) telling him that he’s received an application pertaining to alleged acts of misconduct by him as an administrator and that he may respond the application by January 21.

Replying under his own signature, but as “By Virtue of the powers vested by the Executive Committee”, Mr. Kajaria says: “With utmost respect and humility, may we earnestly (word missing) your good self to consider as to whether your good self as appointed 'Ombudsman' by the Board of Control for Cricket in lndia (BCCI) has been entrusted by the BCCI under its Rules and Regulations with any authority to entertain any complaint which in totality relate to or arises out of internal affairs of a Member Association, which is also incorporated and being governed under the specific Statute and Rules framed thereunder.”

He further says: “As per the amended Rules and Regulations of the BCCI and its composite reading and effective meaning thereof, the 'Ombudsman' is entrusted to deal with complaints of 'Conflict of lnterests' and any act of indiscipline or misconduct or acts in any manner which may or likely to be detrimental to the interest of the BCCI or the game of cricket or endanger the harmony or affect the reputation or interest of the BCCI or breach of any of the provisions of the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI.”

'No power conferred to appointed 'Ombudsman'

Further Mr. Kajaria explains that “Admittedly, none of the above entrusted parameters are applicable in relation to any internal issues of a Member of the BCCI and/or its management. As the BCCI is not so empowered to intervene, or adjudicate, and the same being beyond its scope and jurisdiction, no such power was conferred or entrusted to the appointed “Ombudsman”. This is more so, because, in terms of well settled catena of Judicial pronouncements of the Apex Court emanating from 1963, even the Court of law cannot sit in appeal and substitute its views over and above any internal subject matters of decision making process of an Association or Club. Only if there be any decision or act visited with malafide or in breach of the principles of natural justice or arbitrary, the competent Judicial Forum enshrined under the law is only entitled to adjudicate the same and none else.”

On another “administrator” related issue, Mr. Kajaria says: “As regards the contention of the undersigned being an “Administrator” and thus encompassed within the jurisdiction of a decision making process as “Ombudsman”, it is submitted with humility and respect that composite plain reading of the amended Rules and Regulations of the BCCI, as mentioned heretofore also make it abundantly clear that the jurisdiction of the “Ombudsman” could be invoked only if there be any act which may or likely to be detrimental to the interest of the BCCI or the game of cricket or endanger the harmony or affect the reputation or interest of the BCCI or breach of any of the provisions of the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI and not otherwise.

“Moreover, in a Company, no individual decision making process could be obtained relating to 'internal management', in the absence of any sustainable charge of malfeasance or misfeasance or corrupt act. Even otherwise, the laws of the Companies Act provide detail modalities to deal with such charge, if there be any. Obviously, such statutory provisions cannot be taken away or adjudicated by any individual assuming jurisdiction, overriding such statutorily provided methodology and jurisdiction.”

Mr. Kajaria has replied to other issues raised by the applicant and ends the letter saying: “ln the sequitur, it is most humbly prayed that your good self would be graciously pleased to reject the purported Complaint which is ex focie untenable and its charges being clearly trumped up, based on unsustainable malicious aspersions with exemplary Note of Caution to the so called Complainants, for which the entire Club and its valued Members would remain deeply obliged.”

The NCC has sent a copy of the 6-page note to the BCCI president, Shashank Manohar and Secretary, Anurag Thakur.