High Court nullifies HCA Ombudsman’s disqualification orders of Apex council members

Abhijit Sen Gupta
Abhijit Sen Gupta

The Hyderabad Cricket Association’s infighting which was lying dormant for quite a while cropped up again in the news headlines again. The Telangana High Court has nullified the disqualification orders on Wednesday that had earlier been passed by the HCA Ombudsman Justice Deepak Verma. The order was passed in relation to five members of the Apex council in the month of July this year. A copy of the court order was made available to siasat.com by a former official of the HCA.

It may be recalled that five members of the Apex Council of the HCA namely John Manoj (vice-president), R. Vijayanand (secretary), Naresh Sharma (joint secretary), Surender Agarwal (treasurer) and P. Anuradha (Councillor), were temporarily disqualified from performing their duties as office-bearers of the Apex Council by HCA Ombudsman Justice (Retd.) Deepak Verma in July.

Having heard all sides of the argument, the court held the view that the impugned order disqualifying lawfully elected office bearers was not sustainable. Therefore, the court decided it appropriate to grant interim suspension of the impugned order dated 4th July, 2021. Moreover, the order of the ombudsman and the counter affidavit do not disclose the details of compliance of the principles of natural justice the High Court has pointed out.
To get the full picture of the latest development and its various implications, saisat.com spoke to several office bearers of the HCA. Former Secretary S. Venkateswaran said that the matter has taken an interesting turn and it remains to be seen what will be the follow up by the newly reinstated Apex council members.

“All are aware that there has been a compromise behind the scenes between the warring parties and so we must see what further action will be taken in the light of this new high court order. As matters stand, the disqualified members are now vindicated and have been once again cleared for duty in their respective posts. But what about the earlier orders of the Ombudsman. Now what will be the reactions of Azhar bhai. That is what we have to see,” said Venkateswaran.

HCA Vice President John Manoj, who was not in Hyderabad, said that he came to know of the High Court order just before he left Hyderabad. He confirmed that the five members now stood cleared. The HCA Secretary R. Vijayanand said that the Apex council will now study the order in detail and get legal opinion before deciding upon the next course of action.

The court also observed that the appointment of Justice Verma as Ombudsman was unilateral in nature and therefore the validity of the said appointment was sub judice. That being the case the reinstated Apex Council is now in a position to once again bring up the resolution to remove Azharuddin temporarily from the office of the President.

But now with the change in attitude of both parties, it seems unlikely that such harsh demands will be once again brought to the forefront. According to well-informed sources within the HCA, the matter will very likely be allowed to become dormant once again and no action will be taken by either side. The patch up between the HCA President Mohammed Azharuddin and his rivals will hold good for now at least, said the sources.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a seasoned journalist who writes on Sports and various other subjects.