The Jammu and Kashmir High Court (Bench at Srinagar) on Tuesday directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to run the management, control and administration of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) as an interim measure till a new body of JKCA is elected whereafter the same shall be handed over to the newly elected office bearers of the Association.
A division bench comprising of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Puneet Gupta delivered the judgment in a bunch of appeals and petitions challenging the order of the single judge directing that Mr Justice C. K. Prasad, retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Mr Justice Syed Rafat Alam, Chief Justice of M.P. and Allahabad High Courts shall act as Administrators of the J&K Cricket Association to ensure its free and fair elections.
An initiative was undertaken by the Kashmir Cricket Club in 1957 wherein a Committee headed by one Qazi Ghulam Rasul submitted a report resulting in the framing of JKCA Rules. Thereafter, with the popularity gained by the game of cricket, BCCI was tasked as an Apex Body to control the activities of the game in India, affecting the functioning of many Cricket Associations in India.
The genesis of the litigation rests on the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee wherein it was tasked to recommend the wholesome reforms in the administration of game of cricket in India. The said Committee was functioning under the Chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India, Justice RM Lodha. The recommendations were accepted by the Apex Court in the judgment of Board of Control for Cricket in India & Others v. Cricket Association of Bihar & Others; (2016) 8 SCC 535. The guidelines formulated by the Committee mandated the affiliate State Associations of the BCCI to effect necessary amendments in their Rules/ Memorandum of Association/Constitutions so as to bring them in tune with the recommendations made by the Committee. However, JKCA, being in total disengagement with the said recommendations, did not implement the guidelines of the Committee.
The order of the single judge was upheld by the division bench with the modification as regards to a direction to the JKCA that any disputes inter se different clubs affiliated to it shall be resolved by an Ombudsman to be appointed by the Court.
A draft Constitution of the BCCI was approved by the Apex Court vide judgment dated 9th August 2018 wherein the Court directed all the members of BCCI, including JKCA, to undertake registration of their Constitutions on similar lines. In view of this, JKCA framed the Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations and got them registered on 3rd October 2018.
According to the petitioners it was submitted before the Single Bench that the Court Appointed Administrators (CAA) of JKCA went beyond its mandate of amending its earlier Constitution registered in the year 1957 to make it in line with the recommendations of the Lodha Committee by framing an entirely new Constitution of JKCA. The Single Bench dismissed the petitions by holding that the issue rested within the domain of the Apex Court. The said judgment was thereafter challenged, forming the primary basis of the judgment.
Observation of the Court
While noting that it was not appropriate for the Court to go into the question of ascertaining whether the MOA and Rules frmaed by CAA of JKCA was in tune with the Committee’s recommendations, the Court went ahead to observe that:
“..BCCI, which is tasked with the overall governing/ controlling of the activities of the game of cricket in India and of which the JKCA is an affiliate member, is in position with its newly approved Constitution, it is the said body which shall be the appropriate authority to answer the above-formulated question in the light of its newly approved Constitution. The BCCI is expected to have all expertise required for answering this question, being the apex body for managing and controlling the activities of the game of cricket in India, including the Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, the BCCI has also filed an application for handing over the affairs of the JKCA to it till such time the elections of the office bearers of the JKCA are conducted under its supervision.”
The Court thereafter issued the following directions:
1. In view of the challenge thrown to the amended Constitution/ Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations framed by the CAA of the JKCA, coupled with the contentions raised about the mandate exercised by the CAA as well as the role played by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) nominated by this Court, we, while appreciating the effort and endeavour made by the CAA as well as the CEO, feel that there is no further need of their continuation, as such, the CAA and the CEO of the JKCA appointed by this Court shall stand discontinued.
2. The BCCI shall, as an interim measure and till a new body of the JKCA is elected under its supervision, run the management, control and administration of the JKCA immediately upon being handed over the same by the CAA.
3. The BCCI shall, while finalizing the amendment, if any, in the Constitution of the JKCA, in conformity with the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, consult all the stakeholders, including the parties litigating before this Court, i.e., the representatives of the erstwhile clubs of the JKCA as also of the District Cricket Associations now formed by the CAA.
4. The BCCI shall ensure promoting of cricketing activities in Jammu and Kashmir as well as in Ladakh in tune with its approved Constitution and at par with other affiliated Associations from various States and Union Territories of the country.
5. The BCCI shall ensure that the required infrastructure on ground is improved and made available to the cricketers of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh without waiting for any audit report.
6. The BCCI shall make every endeavour to ensure that the boys and girls playing the game of cricket in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, from different age groups, are provided all facilities to excel in the game of cricket not only on national, but also at international level.
7. The BCCI, given the task assigned to it as indicated above, shall be authorized to appoint Committee/ sub-Committee to run, administer, control and supervise the affairs of the JKCA till the elections are held and a body of the JKCA is elected under its supervision, whereafter the administration, control and supervision of the JKCA shall be handed over to the newly elected office bearers of the Association.
8. Deputy Commissioner of Jammu as well of Srinagar shall cooperate with the BCCI for ensuring implementation of the aforesaid directions passed in this judgment for any requisitioned assistance. They shall ensure preparation of inventory of movable and immovable property of the JKCA and furnishing the same, alongwith the list of assets and liabilities of JKCA as existing on the date of this judgment, to the BCCI during the course of this week.
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