The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice in pleas filed challenging Telangana High Court’s order upholding the appointment of former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Deepak Verma as ombudsman and ethics officer for the Hyderabad Cricket Association.
A Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli has directed both President and the Secretary of the Hyderabad Cricket Association to jointly sign the cheques till the matters are finally heard by the Top Court, so that the day-to-day functioning of the Association is not hampered for the time being.
The petitioners were represented by Senior Advocate R. Basanth, Advocates K. V. Bharathi Upadhyaya, R. Anand Padmanabhan, and Devarathi Sadhu. Senior Advocate Rakesh Khanna appeared for the respondent.
The CJI-led Bench had on the last occasion expressed its disapproval towards the functioning of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, headed by former Indian Cricket Team Captain Mohd Azharuddin and the row over appointment of a former Supreme Court Judge as the ombudsman.
The Court had observed that it will appoint some retired judges of the Supreme Court to inquire into the issue.
The Bench had orally observed that Justice Verma be asked to not pass any orders as the Ombudsman and ethics officer since his tenure has come to an end.
The Bench was hearing special leave petitions two of which have been filed by Charminar Cricket Club and Budding Star Cricket Club, two Cricket Clubs and members of the HCA, against order of the Telangana High Court dated April 6th, 2021.
Through the impugned order, the High Court had set aside an order of the Civil Court suspending the Hyderabad Cricket Association’s decision to appoint former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Deepak Verma as ambudsman and ethics officer for the Hyderabad Cricket Association.
The Telangana high court had in April this year upheld the appointment of former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Deepak Verma as ambudsman and ethics officer for the Hyderabad Cricket Association.
This had come in a plea filed by Charminar Cricket Club affiliated with HCA challenging the civil court order suspending his appointment. The Charminar Cricket Club and Budding Star Cricket Club are both Cricket Clubs and are members of the HCA.
The High Court had held that there was a clear collusion between the Budding Star Cricket Club and the R.Vijayanand, Secretary of the HCA and both of them did not come to the Court with clean hands and suppressed true facts.
Further, it was held that they wanted to delay the appointment of the Ombudsman and Ethics Officer and to embarrass Justice Deepak Verma, former Judge of the Supreme Court.
According to the Budding Star Cricket Club, HCA initiated process of appointment of Justice Deepak Verma, former Judge of Supreme of India as Ombudsman and Ethics Officer and had addressed a letter to Justice Deepak Verma seeking his consent which was later given. The HCA then addressed a letter stating that the said consent would be placed in the General Body Meeting for approval and thereafter it will be conveyed with the letter of appointment.
However according to the Star Club, no General Body Meeting was called for and appointment of Ombudsman and Ethics Officer can only be done as per Clauses of the Memorandum of Association at the Annual General Meeting and such power of appointment vests with the General Body alone.
It further contended that due to the Covid-19 pandemic which commenced in March, 2020, General Body Meeting had not been called for by HCA and there was a meeting of the Apex Council where a decision was taken for appointment of Ombudsman and Ethics Officer.
Case Titles: The Hyderabad Cricket Association vs The Charminar Cricket Club & Budding Star Cricket Club vs Charminar Cricket Club, K John Manoj vs Mohd Azharuddin & Ors