SC Asks Delhi HC To Decide Appeal Against Sreesanth's Discharge By July End

SC Asks Delhi HC To Decide Appeal Against Sreesanth

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra has directed the Delhi High Court to dispose off the Criminal Appeal filed by Delhi Police against former Indian Cricket player S. Sreesanth's discharge in the IPL spot fixing case, by the end of July.

The Bench was hearing an Application filed by Sreesanth seeking an interim order from the Supreme Court for allowing him to play English County cricket this season.

“He has lost his playing time here...there is an offer for him to play abroad...please allow him to play for one season...he would be outside of India and there would be no interference here...”, urged Senior Counsel Salman Khurshid, appearing on behalf of Sreesanth.

Opposing the plea, Senior Counsel Parag Tripathi, representing the BCCI, contended, “He has been found prima facie guilty...the appeal against his discharge is pending before the Delhi High Court...he is not denying the possession of the cash...he is only arguing that the provisions of the MCOCA and the IPC may not apply and that only the (Anti Corruption) Code of the BCCI may be relied on...”

Even when one’s wicket falls, they are allowed a chance in the second innings...he has already suffered for 4 years...only 3 months remain for the season...”, pressed Mr. Khurshid.

“The petitioner has been banned under the Code...to reach to the top and then speak to a broker to accept Rs. 10 lakhs, utilise Rs. 3 lakhs and have him retain the remaining 7 lakhs and then claim the money to be for charity?...”, argued Mr. Tripathi.

On Tuesday, the bench also comprising Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and A. M. Khanwilkar, asserted, “we understand the anxiety of the petitioner...let the High Court decide...then we shall see based on the proportionality of the punishment”

The bench requested the Delhi High Court to dispose off the criminal appeal by the end of July, scheduling the matter for further hearing before itself in August.

Background 

On February 5 the bench had issued notice to BCCI on the special leave petition filed by Sreesanth against the judgment of a division bench of Kerala High Court that restored the life ban imposed on him by the Board in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot fixing scandal.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud had sought the response of the BCCI within four weeks.

Sreesanth had been given four weeks from then on to respond to the Board's reply.

When senior advocate Salman Khurshid who appeared for Sreesanth said he has not played for six long years and pleaded that there be a speedy hearing of the plea, CJI had said "no we are not going to pass any interim order".

But after Khurshid's plea the bench reduced the time given to BCCI to file response from earluwr 6 weeks to 4 weeks.

Senior advocate Parag Tripathi appearing for BCCI had tried to explain the reasons for the ban and the "evidence" against Sreesanth but the CJI said "we are not hearing it today.Only issuing notice".

A single judge bench of Kerala HC had earlier lifted the ban and set aside all proceedings initiated against him by the Board.

The crux of Sreesanth’s contention was that the preliminary enquiry was held while the cricketer was under custody by Delhi Police, and that without hearing his version, the enquiry officer had reached conclusions of guilt in the preliminary report.

Though this argument was accepted by the single judge, the division bench observed that there is nothing wrong in the approach of the enquiry officer, and that the preliminary report was followed by a supplementary report, which was prepared after notice.

All the 36 accused in the spot-fixing case, including Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, were let off by a Patiala House court in July, 2015.

The BCCI, however, had refused to alter its disciplinary decision even after the verdict.