The Delhi high court rejected all-rounder Ajay Jadeja's plea to return to grade cricket following the Board of Control for Cricket in India's petition, challenging Justice J K Mehra's ruling, which had set aside the five-year ban imposed on the cricketer following the match-fixing controversy.
Justice Manmohan Sarin, who had on May 16 issued notices to Jadeja, BCCI investigator K Madhavan and members of the Board's disciplinary committee, agreed with BCCI counsel Kapil Sibal's submission that the cricketer's plea cannot be entertained unless the objections to the ruling are heard.
The court is scheduled to hear BCCI's objections to the ruling on July 8 after the respondents file their replies.
Earlier, a division bench of the court had, on April 24, asked the BCCI to consider Jadeja for the Ranji Trophy and posted the matter for hearing on May 19.
However, when the matter came up for hearing, the bench referred the petition to Justice Sarin, after BCCI counsel Radha Rangaswamy submitted that the ruling had already been challenged before a single bench.
The BCCI challenged Justice Mehra's ruling on April 25, just two days before it was to become binding. The January 27 award would have become final on April 27 on the expiry of the 90-day statutory period had it gone unchallenged.
Jadeja has accused the BCCI of scuttling his selection for the Ranji Trophy championship, saying it advised the DDCA not to select him. His counsel P P Malhotra alleged that he was also not allowed to take part in a charity match in South Africa as the ICC objected to his participation at the instance of the BCCI.
Arbitrator Justice J K Mehra, who was appointed by the high court, had ruled in Jadeja's favour on the five-year ban, making him eligible for international and domestic cricket again. Justice Mehra had found former CBI director Madhavan's report "illegal and against the principles of natural justice and contrary to law" and had also set aside the findings of the disciplinary committee and ban imposed on Jadeja on December 5, 2000, in his ruling.
"Jadeja has a right to play domestic and international cricket at all levels as if the ban was not there, but, of course, subject to his selection by the concerned authorities," the arbitrator had said.
Jadeja had approached the high court on February 2, 2001, challenging the BCCI order, saying it was imposed on the basis of Madhavan's recommendations following a preliminary report by the Central Bureau of Investigation indicting both him and former captain Mohammad Azharuddin.
Both Jadeja and Azharuddin have maintained that they had absolutely no involvement in the match-fixing scandal.