Shanthakumaran Sreesanth II / Revival of Ray XVIII


Introduction to Cricket

Sports not only gives physical or moral strength to a personality but spreads the message of goodwill and friendship. Cricket, it is said, is a synonym for gentlemanliness which means discipline, fair play, modest and high standard of morality. In our country, BCCI exercises sufficient control.Cricket Ball.jpegAppellant

Appellant participated in an IPL match held at Mohali, Punjab on 09.05.2013. Appellant represented Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab. Appellant was arrested on allegation of spot fixing on 16.05.2013. Regarding ‘tucking of towel’, Appellant’s answer is that he is superstitious.Screen Shot 2019-03-16 at 3.21.42 PM.pngDisciplinary Committee of BCCI

Disciplinary Inquiry conducted by Disciplinary Committee of BCCI is akin to Disciplinary Inquiry against Public Servants except few distinctions.

Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Ray, State of Andra Pradesh v. Chitra Venkata Rao, (1975) 2 SCC 557:

“The Court is concerned to determine whether the enquiry is held by an authority competent in that behalf and according to the procedure prescribed in that behalf, and whether the rules of natural justice are not violated. Second, where there is some evidence which the authority entrusted with the duty to hold the enquiry has accepted and which evidence may reasonably support the conclusion that the delinquent officer is guilty of the charge, it is not the function of the High Court to review the evidence and to arrive at an independent finding on the evidence. The High Court may interfere where the departmental authorities have held the proceedings against the delinquent in a manner inconsistent with the rules of natural justice or in violation of the statutory rules prescribing the mode of enquiry or where the authorities have disabled themselves from reaching a fair decision by some considerations extraneous to the evidence and the merits of the case or by allowing themselves to be influenced by irrelevant considerations or where the conclusion on the very face of it is so wholly arbitrary and capricious that no reasonable person could ever have arrived at that conclusion. The departmental authorities are, if the enquiry is otherwise properly held, the sole judges of facts and if there is some legal evidence on which their findings can be based, the adequacy or reliability of that evidence is not a matter which can be permitted to be canvassed before the High Court.”

There is a vast distinction between a Criminal Trial on one hand and Disciplinary Inquiry under Anti-Corruption Code of BCCI on other hand. The standard of proof is entirely different. There are no structured sentencing guidelines in The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Hon’ble Judges Sikri, Palekar, Dua, Beg and Hon’ble Justice A.N. Ray, Jagmohan Singh v. The State of U.P., (1973) 1 SCC 20:

“The policy of the law in giving a very wide discretion in the matter of punishment to the Judge has its origin in the impossibility of laying down standards. Take, for example, the offence of ‘criminal breach of trust’ punishable under Section 409, IPC. The maximum punishment prescribed for the offence is imprisonment for life. The minimum could be as low as one day’s imprisonment and fine. It is obvious that if any standards were to be laid down with regard to several kinds of breaches of trust by the persons referred, that would be an impossible task. All that could be reasonably done by the Legislature is to tell the Judges that between the maximum and minimum prescribed for an offence, they should, on balancing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances as disclosed in the case, judicially decide what would be the appropriate sentence.”

Disciplinary Committee of BCCI, Quantum of Punishment

In view of the allegations of match fixing and non-reporting of the offences Sh. Sreesanth is banned from playing or representing for life. He shall during this period not be entitled to be associated with any activities of the BCCI or its affiliates.”

Zero tolerance approach cannot dilute consideration of relevant factors. Article 6, Anti-Corruption Code itself enumerates aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Disciplinary Committee did not advert to the aggravating and mitigating factors. Disciplinary Committee is not obliged to award a life time ban in all cases.

Conclusion on Shanthakumaran Sreesanth

Disciplinary Committee of BCCI: Revisit Quantum of Punishment/Sanction; Three Months.

Appellant: One Say, Quantum of Punishment/Sanction; Await Decision.

Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan, S. Sreesanth v. Board of Control for Cricket in India, [Civil Appeal No. 2424 of 2019].