In a first, the Delhi High Court on Monday issued Contempt of Court notices to Sneh Prakash Bansal, president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association and his legal counsel Gautam Dutta for “deliberate and wilful disobedience and disregard” of the order passed by it on August 22.
Bansal, who's already facing charges of allegedly roundtripping and mismanaging funds of the DDCA, was earlier advised by his lawyer to tick off court appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal. He accused Mudgal of “meddling with cricket affairs, including selection of panel to appoint selectors across all age groups,” and exceeding his brief of “overseeing supervision of matches only.” Dutta also advised Bansal to charge Mudgal with contempt of court.
The Division Bench of the Delhi HC, however, on Monday upheld Just. Mudgal's interpretation of the court order which had stated that the former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court had full authority to conduct all matches being played under the aegis of DDCA.
The noose, it appears, is tightening around the "tainted" DDCA officials who have brazenly defied and rebelled against any attempt to clean up the cricket association. An upset Bansal had called an emergent meeting of the Executive Committee of the DDCA on Sunday evening. The EC is split with 2/3rd majority being controlled by Bansal and C.K. Khanna—one of the oldest office bearers of the Association.
The meeting discussed whether Mudgal was overstepping his brief. Several members including the likes of Chetan Chauhan and Sidharth Singh Verma tried to advise them not to take such a step but they were a minority. Khanna and Bansal sought legal opinion from Dutta, who deemed that Mudgal's “mandate, scope and jurisdiction was restricted exclusively to overseeing supervision of matches”.
Bansal and Khanna group was upset after Just. Mudgal, on orders of the Delhi HC, sent an email to all office bearers and members of the executive committee of DDCA by forming two panels to pick junior and senior selectors, coaches and support staff. He had also asked all applicants to provide their background, experience by sending in their resume along with applications.
This was the first time any one asked to check credentials before any appointment in DDCA. Mudgal had also made it clear that no contract of any manner would be signed for DDCA without the tendering process.
Speaking to THE WEEK, former cricketer Chetan Chuhan, who leads a bunch of eight directors of DDCA which the BCCI prefers to deal with in matters related to cricket, said, “We will continue to work as per the orders of the Honourable Delhi HC.”
Another director, Sidharth Singh Verma said, “After today's developments, it is clear to all in DDCA that Just. Mudgal has full powers to conduct cricket affairs in DDCA and there should be no more questions raised on that front.”
Monday's developments yet again highlight the deep morass in which affairs of Delhi cricket have sunk. Just. Mudgal was not keen on any further role in DDCA after overseeing organisation of international matches in the previous season. He had filed a stinging report on the functioning of the “rogue” cricket association of the BCCI and its specific officials. However, he accepted the HC order wherein he was requested to run the affairs of DDCA till September 22 on a plea of eight directors of DDCA and the Delhi government. The BCCI, which is resisting the reforms process set in by the supreme court, is further under pressure on account of this “rogue” affiliate.