The Bombay High Court has upheld former Ranji player and former captain of under-19 Indian team Kiran Powar’s removal from the Mumbai Cricket Association’s Apex Council, and also upheld the bar on him from playing cricket for a year.
The division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and RN Laddha passed the order in a petition filed by Powar, who challenged the decision of MCA’s Ethics Officer after he was found guilty of “conflict of interest.”
Powar is the brother of Ramesh Powar, coach of Indian Women’s Cricket Team.
On December 28, 2021 (retd) Justice VK Tahilramani in her capacity as MCA’s Ethics Officer found “conflict on interest” in two aspects based on a complaint by one Deepan Sunderlal Mistry.
First, soon after Powar’s appointment as an Apex Council member, his brother was appointed as Head Coach for MCA; and second, Powar was on contract as cricket coach of the Goregaon Sports Club (GSC) while he was the Apex Council Member. GSC would participate in MCA’s tournaments, therefore the conflict.
Before the High Court, Powar claimed he wasn’t required to disclose any of the above. His counsel informed the High Court when the complaint was filed, Ramesh was no longer the coach of any Mumbai teams and even Powar was not a coach at GSC, therefore the conflict of interest ceased to exist.
But Advocates A S Khandeparkar and Vikas Warerkar for MCA submitted that the Ethics Officer was empowered to pass the order under Rule 39(3) of the MCA constitution. The rules were part of Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) R M Lodha Committee recommendations on series of reforms in Indian Cricket Administration and confirmed by the Supreme Court in the BCCI case.
The High Court noted that Powar was appointed to the Apex Council in October 2019. However, he failed to declare that his brother was appointed as a coach for MCA between 2017-18 and that his (brother’s) name was under consideration.
“The Petitioner did not declare his conflict of interest and became the Apex Council Member. The Petitioner did not maintain the transparency as is held by the Ethics Officer cum Ombudsman,” the High Court noted.
The disclosure should’ve been made under section 38(2) of MCA’s constitution, the order states. Under section 38(1)(v) any person who occupies a position of influence must disclose where a friend, relative or close affiliate is in the zone of consideration.
“…being an Apex Council member, a person would be in an influential position in matters of selection, therefore it cannot be said that the Ethics Officer’s decision was perverse for HC to interfere,” the bench observed.
“It cannot be said that the punishment imposed and / or the order passed is shockingly disproportionate for this court to intervene,” it added and disposed of the plea.
Case Title: Kiran Rajaram Powar v. Mumbai Cricket Association
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