SC Defers Hearing, Pandya-Rahul to Wait Till Next Week for Enquiry

Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul will not have to wait another week for the start of their enquiry.

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Cricket
3 min read
KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya have been suspended, pending an enquiry.
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Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul will have to wait another week to learn the quantum of their punishment for the controversial comments made on Koffee With Karan.

Pulled midway out of the tour of Australia, provisionally suspended and lambasted thoroughly, the two cricketers' future was left uncertain after hearing was adjourned by the two-judge bench comprising Justices AM Sapre and SA Bobde following current amicus curiae Gopal Subramanium's resignation on health grounds.

"Now that SC has taken cognisance of the case and already asked the new amicus to come back after a week, the CoA chief cannot appoint an ad-hoc Ombudsman as it will be contempt of court," a senior BCCI official told PTI on Thursday.

The appointment of an ombudsman was sought by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) to investigate the duo's controversial comments on the show 'Koffee with Karan' with film-maker Karan Johar.

With the bench nominating former Additional Solicitor General PS Narsimha as the new amicus, the case of appointment of a permanent or ad-hoc ombudsman will only come up as and when the new amicus takes charge.

Thursday’s developments mean that the return of the two players, who have already missed the ongoing ODI series against Australia, could well be delayed beyond the New Zealand series which starts next week.

Asked what's the way out now, the official said, "An ad-hoc ombudsman can still be appointed but only after the former ASG decides to take up the assignment and he is convinced that an ad-hoc ombudsman is a necessity for an early closure so that the cricketers can resume national duty."

Why Pandya Case Reached BCCI Hearing

While BCCI’s legal team had suggested an Ombudsman be appointed to carry out the inquiry in the Pandya-KL Rahul matter, CoA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji failed to come to a consensus on who would be given the charge.

Vinod Rai suggested naming an ad-hoc Ombudsman to carry out the task – considering the players are missing international cricket while waiting for the verdict– Diana Edulji refused his proposal stating it was against the BCCI’s constitution. In an email to Rai she said, “the inquiry should be done by the COA along with the three Office Bearers or the COA along with the Secretary who is still functional and carrying out his duties.”

Rai though did not agree with this idea and replied, “In my view, the COA is duty bound to follow the new constitution and what you are suggesting is neither in consonance with the constitution nor is it as per the legal advice received. I can’t be party to this decision and process. In the circumstances, please go ahead with your suggestion. You and AS please conduct the inquiry."

And thus, following another deadlock between the two members of the CoA, the Supreme Court was asked to step in.

Edulji attended Thursday’s hearing in the Supreme Court with her personal lawyer and told Rai in an e-mail that it was to “protect her own interest”.

BCCI acting President C K Khanna echoed Rai's sentiment on early resolution of the matter.

"Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul certainly brought disrepute to the board with their inappropriate comments. For that, the BCCI has already suspended them provisionally. However, I am also of the view that the matter needs to be sorted at the earliest," he told PTI.

"While we need to sanction them for their transgressions but we are dealing with young careers. I would like to see them back in mainstream and also undergo gender sensitisation programme with other young cricketers," he added.

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