SC bench to hear case for approval of COA members

A new Supreme Court bench will hear amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium and senior advocate Anil Divan to dissect the candidatures of a list of suitable persons who can form the Committee of Administrators to run the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Justices Dipak Misra, A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud form the new Supreme Court bench that will hear the case on Friday.

A new Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra on Friday will hear amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium and senior advocate Anil Divan on their list of suitable persons who can form the Committee of Administrators to run the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Chief Justice of India J. S. Khehar has referred the BCCI case to the new Bench led by Justice Misra after the retirement of Justice T. S. Thakur earlier this month. The other two judges on the Bench would be Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud.

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Justice Misra, who is expected to be the next Chief Justice of India later this year as per seniority norm, has entered the case at a crucial time when the Supreme Court has stripped BJP MP Anurag Thakur of the BCCI presidentship and even issued him notice for contempt of the Supreme Court. Thakur has been found prima facie liable for perjury. The court had sacked Ajay Shirke as BCCI secretary as well.

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The Committee of Administrators, once appointed by an order of the Supreme Court, would manage the affairs of the BCCI. The Supreme Court-appointed Justice R. M. Lodha Committee would take on the holistic task of guiding the policy of the cricket body. The administrators would be the pointsmen for ushering in the Lodha panel's recommendations of transparency and accountability in Indian cricket administration.

Recusal

On January 2, the apex court Bench led by the then Chief Justice of India T. S. Thakur had commissioned senior advocate Fali Nariman and Mr. Subramanium to provide it “objective assistance” in selecting persons of experience and integrity for the committee. However, Mr. Nariman had subsequently excused himself from the appointed task, citing conflict of interest as he had once appeared for the BCCI as a lawyer.

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The court had accepted Mr. Nariman's recusal and replaced him with Mr. Divan. Once Mr. Subramanium and Mr. Divan give their report to the Supreme Court on the persons suitable for the Committee of Administrators, the court would pass formal orders.

In its January 2 order, the court had endorsed the Justice Lodha panel recommendation to oust BCCI office-bearers and administrators of affiliated State associations who are above 70 years old, who are insolvent, government ministers and servants, office-bearers of other sports and athletic associations, those who have already enjoyed a cumulative period of nine years at the BCCI helm and those charged with criminal offences.

Administrators who do not fall under any of these categories of disqualification were given a deadline of four weeks to fall in line with the Lodha reforms. Their day of reckoning would now be in the hands of the new Bench led by Justice Misra.