The Bombay High Court has come to the aid of aggrieved Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises. The Court has directed the BCI to extend the deadline for the IPL teams to nominate the players they desire to retain for the 2011 tournament from Dec 6 to 8. The ruling comes on the heels of a grievance by ousted Kings XI Punjab, accusing to board of purposely delaying the arbitration hearings over its expulsion with the the intention of letting the original deadline expire. The news was made known by IPL chief executive Sundar Raman.
"BCCI kept silent deliberately. They strung us along for one week as the deadline for negotiating with 'marquee players' is to expire on December 6," the PTI news agency quoted Punjab's lawyer Darius Khambata as saying.
The High Court's decision comes as it set-back to the BCCI which seems hell-bent on keeping KXIP and the Rajasthan Royals out of IPL4. Both teams were suspended on Oct 10 for allegedly modifying their shareholders' pattern without informating the IPL's governing council. The two franchises have since taken the BCCI to court to an arbitration court.
The Punjab hearing was set to start on Dec 2, but the abitrator, Justice B N Srikrishna decided to withdraw from the case when it was revealed that he had represented the Wadia Group, part owners of the KXIP, in cases in the past. Oddly enough, Srikrishna was the judge of the BCCI's own choice.
Srikrishna is also the arbitrator in the BCCI's case against the Rajasthan Royals. On Nov 30, he ruled in favour of the Royals, issuing a six-way on their termination. The decision would in effect, allow the franchise to function as part of the League and avail of business with the same, including the players' auction scheduled to begin on Jan 8. In his interim order, the judge said the BCCI's argument for expelling the team was "too facile to cut ice".
In accordance with the reconfigured rules for IPL 4, teams can retain up to four players, three of whom can be Indians before the new auction. The retained players must have been part of the franchise's squads registered for IPL3, and will not be part of Jan's auction.