The Patial House Court in New Delhi, under additional district judge Ms Ruby Alka Gupta, has held, in its order on October 19, that the suit filed by former Indian Premier League CEO Lalit Modi in February 2013 is maintainable.
Modi, who was was banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on September 25, had filed a suit in February when disciplinary proceedings were being conducted against him by a committee, comprising Arun Jaitley, Chirayu Amin and Jyotiadritiya Scindia.
In his suit, Modi complained that the committee was biased and working with a predetermined mindset. According to him, relevant and important parts of the minutes of the Governing Council’s meeting, dated 25.6.2010, relating to the complaint made by the Kochi franchisee were fraudulently suppressed from him and showed that Jaitley canvassing the case of the Kochi franchisee was a direct witness to the complaint, and that such suppression of information was clearly a ground for disqualification of Jaitley from acting as an adjudicator.
The unnecessary haste in which the disciplinary proceedings were wrapped up without allowing Modi any chance to present his case before the inquiry panel was in fact an attempt to circumvent the judicial pronouncement of Jaitley’s involvement in the Kochi franchisee dispute, which could have led to his disqualification as a member of the inquiry panel, said Mehmood Abdi, counsel and constituted attorney of Modi, in a statement on Monday.
However, with the order of the Patiala court now all issues, including issue of personal bias of Jaitley in the BCCI panel probing allegations against Modi, are now intact and open for judicial review and intervention, added Abdi.
In the said suit Modi also complained that records of the proceedings were not being fairly and transparently maintained. One of the major reservations of Modi was the consistent failure of the BCCI committee to obtain the confirmatory mails from the witnesses, confirming the correct recording of their evidence from some of the witnesses who were examined on video link.
In his suit by way of relief Modi, amongst others, had claimed that he is entitled to be tried by a fair and unbiased Tribunal (Disciplinary committee) whereas the Disciplinary Committee conducting the inquiry against him was in fact biased. He also sought a stay of the proceedings.
The BCCI had filed a reply, which represented that the confirmatory mails of the statements made by their witnesses from who were examined via video link would be obtained in due course.
However, without obtaining such confirmatory mails and without even taking on record the witness statement of Modi, the committee closed the proceedings and submitted its report.
Proceeding without the witnesses confirming the recording of their statement by the inquiry panel is unheard of in any judicial or quasi judicial proceedings, said Abdi.
The court, after a detailed hearing, in a 53-page judgment, rejected all the contentions of the BCCI and dismissed its applications by holding that in view of the submission of the report by the committee only the relief seeking injunction/stay of the proceedings before the committee has become infructuous and the remaining reliefs which included the issue of personal bias of Jaitley and unfair manner in which preceding were conducted by the panel as sought in the suit by Modi still survive.
Image: Lalit Modi