The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday declared the formation of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) null and void and struck down all its decisions.
The verdict was announced after hearing petitions that were filed against the formation of the IMC headed by Najam Sethi, after suspension of the PCB governing board headed by Zaka Ashraf. Ashraf was restored by the court on May 16.
The petitioners include former army cricket team coach Major (retd) Ahmed Nadeem Saddal, PCB Abbottabad region president Amir Nawab and ex-members of the PCB governing board Muhammad Rafiq and Mir Haider Ali Khan Talpur.
The detailed verdict reads, “Apparently, on the face of record, this exercise was done which seems to be tainted with mala fide intentions merely to defeat the process of law, despite the fact that the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) had assured the court during the proceeding on intra-court appeal that it had no intention of hijacking the cricket board and that the order passed by this court would be obeyed…Therefore, the impugned notification of February 10, 2014 superseding the duly elected body of cricket board without any plausible reason is required to be struck down.”
IHC judge Noorul Haq N Qureshi wrote that throughout the proceedings, counsels from the respondents could not prove any reasons for the removal of the previous board set-up.
“Merely levelling allegations without quoting instances or providing some evidence is insufficient to prove it. Therefore, I am of the view that the suspension notification was based on mala fide intention,” said the judge.
The judge further observed, “In my opinion, the IMC has no power to choose among employees of board for removal which were employed on contract or against any other type of employment.”
The order further said that Part-IX of the PCB constitution envisages supersession of the board referring availability of sufficient evidence and satisfaction of patron that grave financial irregularities exist in the board.
The bench also noted that by virtue of the notification of January 30, 2014, the President of Pakistan, who was earlier patron-in-chief of the cricket board, was substituted by the prime minister. The court further pointed out that it was clear that the IMC was not authorised to initiate long-term decisions, as it was constituted for a period of only 120-days.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2014.
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