NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today came down heavily on BCCI's President-in-exile N Srinivasan for his participation in the Board's recent working committee meeting saying that he was "vulnerable" after its verdict in the IPL case that found him in a "conflict of interest" situation.
He should not have attended the meeting, a bench of justices T S Thakur and F M I Kallifulla, observed, though it did not issue contempt notice to Srinivasan after his lawyer Kapil Sibal sought time till Friday to take instruction and apprise the court of his stand.
"We found clear conflict of interest in his case. Therefore, he can't go on or contest elections. Having said that this make him very vulnerable.
"He should not have participated in the meeting. We should not be seen running after him. The spirit of our judgment is that he is found in conflict of interest. We are not happy with it," the bench said.
During the hearing, Sibal said that Srinivasan has not committed any contempt as the court's judgement stops him from contesting elections but not from continuing in his current post till those elections.
"Moreover, no decision was taken in the meeting (on February 8), only the date for election was fixed," he said.
"Once the Supreme Court finds that there is conflict of interest and you are not eligible to contest, will you be able to continue participating in the BCCI meetings," the bench asked.
The court's observation came on the hearing of a contempt petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar through Secretary Aditya Verma, which alleged that Srinivasan held a meeting of BCCI's working committee to decide on holding Annual General Meeting in March in alleged violation of the apex court directions.
The apex court had said that the conflict of interest has arisen between what is Srinivasan's duty as BCCI President on the one hand and his interest as father-in-law of Gurunath Meiyappan and owner of IPL team Chennai Super Kings on the other.
The bench said, "How could he ignore that if he is not qualified to contest the election, how could he be qualified to hold the post?
"If you are not eligible for contesting, then could you have chaired the meetings (of the working committee)."
When senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram, representing CAB, sought initiation of contempt proceedings, the bench said though Srinivasan's position is "very vulnerable, We don't want this to become acrimonius."
The bench said, "we should believe Sibal that he will apprise him (Srinivasan) of our observations".
Chidambaram said that there was no ambiguity in the order and as on date, Srinivasan was disqualified from participating in the BCCI affairs and senior vice-president Shivlal Yadav was asked to take the charge.
Sibal said that the meeting was held only to fix the date of March 2 for holding the elections and he a "responsible person. There is a whole body of people who have enormous confidence in him."
"These things can't go beyond a point," the bench said, adding, "Srinivasan might have done great service to the game. But after our judgement his position is vulnerable."
Sibal then said that nobody from BCCI has come before this court and for the time being no contempt notice be issued.
"We don't want it to become a slanging match," it said and posted the matter for further hearing on February 27. The CAB, in its contempt petition, has sought contempt action against Srinivasan, BCCI's interim president Shivlal Yadav and Secretary Sanjay Patil.
The plea has cited media reports to allege that Srinivasan chaired the working committee meeting of the BCCI held on February 8 despite facing disqualification due to the January 22 judgement of the apex court.
"It transpires that in the Working Committee it was decided that the AGM of the BCCI will be held on March, 2 2015 when Srinivasan will chair the meeting and election to the posts of office bearers of BCCI including for the post of President will be held as per the directions of this Court. It was also reported that Srinivasan chaired the Working Committee meeting based on legal opinion," the contempt petition stated.
The CAB contended that Srinivasan continued to have commercial interest in the IPL matches of BCCI and hence he was disqualified from holding the post of BCCI President and President of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).