HC hands over JKCA administration to BCCI till its elections

HC hands over JKCA administration to BCCI till its elections
High court of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar branch. [Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir]

J&K High Court on Tuesday asked 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 the Association is elected under BCCI supervision.

A division bench of Justices Ali Muhammad Magrey and Puneet Gupta observed that there was no further need of continuation of the court-appointed administrators (CAA) and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the JKCA and directed that they shall stand discontinued. The court however appreciated their efforts.

In 2017, a single bench of the High Court had appointed Justice C K Prasad, former judge of the Supreme Court, and Justice Syed Rafat Alam, former Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad High Courts as Administrators of the JKCA.

The court-appointed administrators (CAA) were tasked with ensuring free and fair elections of the JKCA and that the rules of the JKCA were amended inconformity with the recommendations made by the SC appointed Lodha Committee. Those recommendations had already been accepted by the Supreme Court.

The court had also said that the expenditure to be incurred for travelling expenses and for stay of administrators would be borne by the Association and in addition they shall be entitled to remuneration of Rs 75,000 each per working day.

The order of the single bench was subsequently assailed before the DB and the court had upheld the judgment of the Single Judge with certain modifications to the effect that the disputes inter se different clubs affiliated to JKCA shall be resolved by an Ombudsman to be appointed by the Court and not by the CAA.

Accordingly, the court appointed Justice (retired) Syed Bashir-ud-din as the Ombudsman. Besides, the Division Bench appointed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, former DIG, as Chief Executive Officer to assist the CAA to manage the affairs of the Association.

While the CAA drafted Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations, it replaced the Clubs with District Associations reasoning that the same was done to adopt the policy of 'territorial representation'.

The various cricket clubs approached the court and challenged the CAA drafted Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations before the single judge.

The petitioners had sought to declare the Memorandum of Association and the Rules and Regulations framed by the Court Appointed Administrators on 3rd of October, 2018 as null and void.

They had sought a further direction to JKCAA to convene the extraordinary General Council Meeting and amend the Rules of the JKCA in conformity with the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee.

The Single Judge dismissed the writ petitions by holding that the issue as to whether the Constitution of JKCA is in line with the constitution of the BCCI and the recommendations of the Lodha Committee as approved by the Supreme Court lies within the domain of the Supreme Court appointed Administrators in light of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in its order dated 9 August, 2018.

Against this judgment the appeals were now considered by the DB.

The appellants contended that the CAA of the JKCA went beyond its given mandate of amending the earlier constitution of the JKCA, registered in the year 1957, by framing a completely new Constitution of the JKCA out of keeping with Lodha Committee recommendations.

While disposing of a batch of appeals against its single bench judgment, the DB now asked the BCCI to consult all the stakeholders, including the parties litigating before Court- the representatives of the erstwhile clubs of the JKCA as also of the District Cricket Associations now formed by the CAA- while finalizing the amendment, if any, in the Constitution of the JKCA in conformity with the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee.

The BCCI, the court said, 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.

While the court asked the BCCI to 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, it directed the Board to make every endeavour to ensure that the boys and girls playing cricket in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh from different age groups are provided all facilities to excel in the game at national and international level.

"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," the court said.

The Court asked the Deputy Commissioner of Jammu as well of Srinagar to cooperate with the BCCI for ensuring implementation of its directions passed in its judgment for any requisitioned assistance. "They shall ensure preparation of inventory of movable and immovable property of the JKCA and furnishing the same, along with 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".  "We hope and trust that the aforesaid exercise, assigned to the BCCI, is concluded by the BCCI as expeditiously as possible," the DB said.

The directions came after the court held that whether the newly drafted Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations by the CAA of the JKCA is in accordance with the mandate of the Lodha Committee, the BCCI is expected to have all expertise required for answering the 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 court said, 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.

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