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April 21, 2000
Calcutta high court summons ICC, BCCI, sports ministry
Zakia Maryam in Calcutta
Hot on the heels of the Delhi high court's directives to the Delhi District Cricket Association and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, a division bench of the Calcutta high court too has issued notices to the International Cricket Committee, the Union sports ministry and the BCCI to appear before it on May 5.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ashoke Kumar Mathur and Justice Altamas Kabir, hearing a public-interest litigation filed by Subhas Dutta, ordered the ICC, the BCCI and the sports ministry to clarify their stand on the issues raised by him.
In his petition, Dutta requested the court to intervene immediately in connection with the match-fixing scandal to safeguard the image of the game and, more importantly, of the players.
Speaking to rediff.com, a visibly euphoric Dutta later said, "I have raised some pertinent issues that nobody appears to be interested in. Everybody has started demanding a CBI inquiry into the allegations of matchfixing and betting. But nobody is bothered to remove the doubts over the false allegations against some honest players. My contention is that the court should direct the CBI to also investigate the fabricated charges levelled against otherwise innocent cricketers and punish those who have done so primarily to settle personal scores."
Among other things, Dutta has appealed to the high court to instruct the ICC to appoint observers for every match to see whether the players are throwing the game away. He argues that if this can be done successfully in baseball in America, it can be done in cricket as well.
"I have also requested the honourable judges to direct the ICC to formulate guidelines whereby any player convicted of unethical practices should be banned for life, which is the case with baseball in America," he added.
Before admitting the PIL, the judges, however, directed the petitioner to delete the names of two respondents, Manoj Prabhakar and I S Bindra. Dutta had asked the court to seek explanations from them for making allegations against cricket players and administrators.
Meanwhile, the BCCI's lawyer, Usha Ranjan Banerjee, telephoned Dutta, reportedly to inform him that he would be praying for revision of the court's order to delete the names of the two respondents at the next hearing slated for May 5.
Dutta's petition also seeks the judiciary's intervention in preventing sponsors from dictating terms while choosing the dates and venues for the game.
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