SC unimpressed with Centre arguments

Published: Thursday, September 30, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The Union Government today forcefully advanced the series of arguments in support of its stand that the Indian Cricket Board is a 'state' within the meaning of constitution but the Supreme Court made it clear that it was umimpressed by these submissions.

Additional solicitor General Mohan Parasharan submitted before the five-judge constitution bench that government exercised various controls over apex sport's bodies including BCCI which perform functions closely resembling the executive functions.

In an affidavit filed in the court today, government said BCCI from time to time had been complying with its directions including non-participation of the Indian Cricket team in tournaments held at non-regular venues like Sharjah, Toronto and Singapore.

Moreover, the government recognised BCCI as the apex body in the field of cricket and given land at cheap rates for construction of stadiums.

The court said at no point of time BCCI had either sought or given recognition by the government and wanted to know how it could be classified as a 'state' without the government exercising any control over its finances and administration and also the selection of the Indian team.

When government said it held the key for participation of Indian cricket team in international events, the court said "you have the power not to give the permission for travelling abroad and not to give them foreign exchange. Apart from these what else do you do to exercise control over BCCI?" "Most of your arguments fail when you have no material to show that you have ever granted recognition to BCCI as an apex body in the field of cricket." The government said that even though BCCI was not a public authority it was performing a public function and hence its actions were subject to judicial review.

The Government also said it had the power to select the Indian cricket team for participating and sending it abroad.

"We are not doing it as we have entrusted the job to BCCI," Parasharan said.

The bench asked in the event the government selected the team would ICC recognise it? "Then we can cancel BCCI's recognition and thereafter ICC may accept the team selceted by the Indian government." Countering the stand of the Centre, BCCI's counsel K K Venugopal said there was no justification for the Centre to term the Board as 'state' as it had absolutely no control over the financial and administrative activities of the cricket body.

"Deep and pervasive state control must be reflected in the structure of the organisation and not in the activities carried out by the body for it to be classified as 'state' ", Venugopal said.

The Board also argued that it had never submitted its accounts to anyone other than the registrar of the cooperative societies.

"We have not submitted ourselves for auditing by the government or any governmental agencies."

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