Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited, the owners of the team which has been suspended for two years in the IPL, has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court asking for the Lodha Committee order to be set aside in so far as it relates to Super Kings. The court subsequently asked both respondents – the BCCI and India Cements – to file a response by August 27.
A Super Kings insider confirmed the development, terming the writ as a “substantive challenge to the punishment.”
The case is being argued by Dushyant Dave, a senior Delhi-based advocate, who has hitherto not appeared in cases relating to the franchise, has been engaged to pursue the matter. The source also clarified that the affidavit, running to 36 pages, was different from an appeal. Legal experts say that while an interim relief is unlikely at this stage, a notice may be ordered on the BCCI, listed as first respondent, seeking its response.
After lying low for more than a month since being suspended by the RM Lodha Committee, Super Kings have made their first move. While sources from Super Kings had all the while suggested their appeal would be contingent to the BCCI working group’s report, the affidavit seems to have taken even those close to the franchise by surprise.
Meanwhile, the BCCI working group, studying the Lodha panel verdict, is aware of the Super Kings writ, but a board official said it would not put spanner in their works. He said the working group would not await the court’s decision and instead go ahead with its decision which would be revealed to the BCCI working committee on August 28.
The writ, a copy of which is in the possession of ESPNcricinfo, alleges the Lodha Committee order went against the “fundamental principles of natural justice and fair hearing”, and had “led to grave miscarriage of justice.”
“The Justice Lodha Committee had failed to note that the very reason for appointing a high level committee comprising of former judges of apex court was that they could look into the findings of the Mudgal committee,” Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited, the petitioner, stated in the affidavit.
“The Supreme Court had categorically held they were not sitting in appeal over the findings of the Mudgal committee nor were they inclined to look into the materials which were placed before the said committee. The Justice Lodha committee always had the authority to call for the material forming the basis of the justice Mudgal committee reports as observed by the apex court in its recent order dated 7.8.2015.
“Having held that the offence under Article 4.1.1 of the Anti Corruption code was extremely grave, at least the degree of culpability of the franchise ought to have been considered by the Committee.”