HC reserves judgment on appointment of JKCA administrators

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Nov 22:  Division Bench of High Court today reserved its judgment on Single Bench verdict on appointment of  administrators for holding free and fair elections for Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) that was challenged by a cricket club.
The Division Bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey after hearing the parties for the last five days , today reserved all the appeals for final judgment after the counsel representing the parties concluded their arguments in the matter.
The appeals have been filed by some of the aspiring cricketers and members of a local cricket club challenging the Single Bench verdict in which retired Judge of Supreme Court and retired Chief Justice of one of the States were appointed as administrators for holding the elections in JKCA.
Their counsel submitted before the court that till the appeal is decided the administrators shall not hold the office but the counsels representing BCCI, State as also others vehemently denied the submissions of the counsel.
The appellants submit that in regard to the appointment of observers for holding elections to JKCA, the Supreme Court has directed that an Electoral Officer of the State who is retired, may be appointed to supervise the elections for the association.
The writ court, appellants submit, has instead asked the administrators appointed to make appointment of any officer for supervising the elections to the association.
It is submitted that they have faced brunt of discrimination on account of political interference in JKCA’s selection process. They submit that JKCA is said to be a political tool between two rival groups. “…chaos and confusion exists in JKCA which is directly affecting the career prospect of the appellants as they are losing hope in having professional career”, appeal reads.
On the other hand Senior Advocate B A Bashir representing some of the clubs argued before the Division Bench that earlier  ombudsman was  appointed illegally by the erstwhile working committee in which authority was given to Secretary to appoint ombudsman who was convicted by the trial court in a gambling case.
Advocate Bashir further submitted that elections held (19.7.2016) were conducted in violation of Supreme Court judgment. Supreme Court (in  January 2017) said that all disqualified office bearers shall demit their office as well as those who have not carried out the recommendation of Lodha Committee shall demit their office.
He contended that present management shall go and let the administrators appoint the ombudsman or Court may appoint him for resolving the disputes among the clubs.
It may be mentioned here that the term of office bearers of the JKCA expired in the month of May this year and in view of inter-se dispute between the office bearers and two factions who were fighting various cases and claim the genuine association of JKCA, the High Court had directed for fresh elections under the observation of two administrators.
Writ Court had appointed  Justice C.K.Prasad, retired Judge of the Supreme Court and Justice Syed Rafat Alam, Chief Justice of M.P. and Allahabad High Court as administrators of the J&K Cricket Association to ensure free and fair elections.
Writ Court had said the administrators shall ensure that the rules of the J&K Cricket Association are amended in conformity with the recommendations made by the Lodha Committee which has already been accepted by the Supreme Court.
The previous association headed by Imran Raza Ansari by resolution dated 18.9.2016 resolved to appoint ombudsman. Accordingly Justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari, retired Chief Justice  of Patna High Court was appointed as ombudsman by an order dated 02.01.2017. However, the Supreme Court  held that a person shall be disqualified  for being an office bearer  if he is a Minister or Government servant, holds any office or post in sports or athletic association apart from cricket, has been an office bearer of the BCCI for cumulative period of 9 years, has been charged by Court of law for having committed any criminal offence and has attained the age of 70 years. In view of the order admittedly the president and the treasurer of the association were disqualified.
Writ Court was informed that Ansari was disqualified as he was politician and Sports Minister of the State. Similarly General Secretary of the association Iqbal Ahmed Shah in view of his admission, was convicted in a criminal case namely FIR No. 76/13 registered at Police Station Nowgam for offences under Section 13 of the Gambling Act vide judgment dated 23.11.2013.
It was also submitted that the treasurer of the association was disqualified as he was above 70 years of age. Similarly the chairman had incurred disqualification as he had served the association for a term of more 9 years.

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