The BCCI has challenged a Kerala High Court judgement from last month, which had ordered the board to lift its life ban on fast bowler Sreesanth. The BCCI had banned Sreesanth in 2013 for his alleged involvement in the Indian Premier League corruption scandal. Sreesanth was one of three Rajasthan Royals players – Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan being the others – to be handed a life ban by the BCCI for an alleged role in the scandal.
In February this year, Sreesanth filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court challenging the ban, after the BCCI refused to issue a no-objection certificate for him to play league cricket in Scotland. A writ is an application filed in the court asking it to enforce some right against an authority or against an order against which there is no statutory remedy.
In his petition, Sreesanth argued that in 2015 a trial court in Delhi had dropped charges filed by the Delhi Police against him, Chavan and Chandila. The three were among 42 individuals chargesheeted by the Delhi Police under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
In the absence of a specific criminal law to deal with spot-fixing in India, the cricketers were chargesheeted for offences under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the MCOCA. The court, however, said there was not enough evidence for charges to be framed under MCOCA, a special law passed by the Maharashtra state government to tackle organised crime syndicates and terrorism. The MCOCA contains much stricter provisions relating to bail and admissibility of confessions compared to the Indian Penal Code.
In August, Justice A Muhamed Mustaque of the Kerala High Court, accepted Sreesanth’s appeal and told the BCCI it had no “incriminating evidence” against the player and hence the ban should be “quashed”.
On its part, the BCCI maintained the ban was handed after a one-man inquiry commission found Sreesanth guilty of various offences under the board’s anti-corruption code.
The BCCI has now decided to challenge the order of Justice Mustaque. In an application filed in the Kerala High Court on Monday, the BCCI has pointed whether “interference” by a writ court was warranted”. The BCCI has also asked whether the writ court could “sit in appeal” and “alter the quantum of penalty imposed” against the findings of the board’s disciplinary committee.
The BCCI said that its decision was in “accordance” with the principles of natural justice and it has now asked the court to decide whether Justice Mustaque’s order was “contrary to law and to principles of justice, equity and good conscience and ought to be set aside?”