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Above: Former India pacer S Sreesanth seen coming out of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala (file picture)/Photo: UNI

The Supreme Court, which now virtually controls the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) through the Committee of Administrators (CoA) that it had appointed with former CAG Vinod Rai as its chief, has issued notice to the board on a deposition by former India pacer S Sreesanth regarding the life ban on him which has stayed despite a Delhi court having acquitted him (and others) of a spot-fixing charge.

The court’s bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud on Monday (February 5) set the case for hearing after four weeks.

The case has come up from an appeal by the cricketer against a Kerala High Court division bench decision (on the BCCI’s petition) to uphold the life ban that the BCCI has imposed, overturning the decision of removal of the ban by a single judge bench of the court in the 2013 IPL spot fixing scandal.

The bench’s argument was that there had been no violation of natural justice against the 34-year-old cricketer. In July 2015 all 36 accused in the alleged scam, including Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, were let off by a Patiala House Court.

The writ petition was not exactly against the said decision. The BCCI decision (of ban) was imposed on September 13, 2013, while this writ petition was filed before this court only on February 28, 2017.

Having been banned for life, the cricketer did not take up any other proceeding. At that time, criminal prosecution under Section 406 of the IPC, charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crimes Act, 1999 and the Public Gambling Act, 1867 were pending against him and others.

It was on July 25, 2015 that the criminal court discharged him. Thereafter, he moved the BCCI for reconsideration of its decision based on the plea that he had now been discharged by the criminal court.

The BCCI, however, did not agree with the same and in its meeting held on October 18, 2015, it refused to review its earlier decision.

In January 2017 Sreesanth applied to the BCCI to be granted permission to play for the Glenrothes Cricket Club, Fife, Scotland and as no order was forthcoming, the writ petition was filed on February 28, 2017.

It would appear that Sreesanth had reconciled himself with the order of the BCCI banning him for life, which was about four years back.

—India Legal Bureau

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