“We are not going to stop the IPL; we are not going to stop any teams from participating in the tournament; and we are not stopping any players from playing the tournament,” said a two-member bench comprising Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla.
The court in its interim order also stopped N. Srinivasan from discharging his duties as BCCI president.
The court was hearing the IPL betting and spot-fixing case, based on a petition filed by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) president Aditya Verma.
Friday’s ruling effectively overturns the court’s suggestion made on Thursday proposing the suspension of two teams—Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR)—from this year’s IPL edition.
Chenna Super Kings is owned by India Cements Ltd, of which Srinivasan is vice-chairman and managing director. The court had said on Tuesday Srinivasan should step down as BCCI president in order to ensure a fair probe of allegations that his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was involved in spot-fixing and betting in last year’s edition of IPL.
Allegations against Meiyappan arose after Delhi police arrested three Rajasthan Royals players in the spot-fixing scandal.
The court, while allowing the Twenty20 tournament to continue, said it believed that those who loved the game must continue to enjoy it and that the IPL will be held as per schedule and must be played according to the rules and regulations that govern it.
While removing Srinivasan from his current position as BCCI president, the court did not take a view on the petitioner’s plea seeking a bar on Srinivasan attending future BCCI meetings as a representative of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).
This means Srinivasan can continue to attend BCCI meetings as TNCA president.
It also said that employees of India Cements must not have any role in the BCCI, except as players or commentators.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian cricket team, is a vice-president at the company and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, a BCCI-contracted television commentator, is an employee.
While appointing Gavaskar as interim president, the court also directed the BCCI to release him of any contractual obligations with the board as a commentator, saying the board must give him adequate compensation for this period.
The court gave Gavaskar the power to appoint “any such persons whom he has confidence in” to the board.
It also authorized Gavaskar to decide the fate of IPL chief executive officer Sundar Raman—whether to allow him to continue in his current capacity or replace him.
The court said that the vice-president of the BCCI, later identified by the board as former Test player Shivlal Yadav (on the basis of seniority), will discharge all duties not related to the IPL.
Several senior BCCI functionaries, including honorary secretary Sanjay Patel, IPL CEO Sundar Raman and game development manager Ratnakar Shetty, were present in court.
The next hearing in the case will take place on 16 April, when the apex court is expected to give its final order.