The Kerala High Court on Monday revoked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decision to impose a life ban on former Indian cricket team speedster S. Sreesanth. Last year a special court in Delhi had acquitted him in the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing case.
After the verdict, S. Sreesanth had approached the BCCI to remove the ban but his plea was turned down. Later, he approached the Kerala High Court saying that though the court had given him a clean chit, the cricket body continued to harass him. He also pleaded that his sports career was getting ruined because of the ban.
The seamer was charged earlier for his involvement in the spot fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was banned in September 2013 for his alleged spot fixing in the IPL and he was charged alongside two of his Rajasthan Royals teammates, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan. However, he was acquitted in the spot-fixing case in July 2015.
"He was acquitted in the case. Then how can the BCCI impose a ban on him? It is denial of natural justice,” the High Court observed while revoking Sreesanth’s ban.
Sreesanth's plea for a review of his life ban had been "summarily rejected" by the BCCI, which said it would not compromise on its zero tolerance policy towards corruption. The BCCI had informed Sreesanth of its decision in a letter.
The letter was sent by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri after the cricketer wrote to the COA appealing for revocation of his ban in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal. It was made clear that Sreesanth, who intended to play club cricket in the United Kingdom, won't be allowed.
The player had argued that not lifting the ban violated his constitutional rights considering BCCI had taken into account the same charges applied on him by the Delhi Police for which he was later cleared by the Court. In 2013, BCCI had suspended him and ordered an enquiry following his arrest in May 2013.
BCCI’s affidavit earlier in the year said, "The standard of proof required under a penal statute is much higher than the proof required for a disciplinary inquiry. Therefore, on an appreciation of the same evidence, one may not be guilty of criminal consequences but can be found guilty for violating the internal disciplinary rules of an organization.”