In a relief to cricketer Sreesanth, the Supreme Court has set aside the lifetime ban imposed on him by the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), for his alleged involvement in match-fixing during the Indian Premier League in 2013. This comes after the Supreme Court, on March 1, reserved its order on a plea by the cricketer, against the Kerala High Court judgement, which had affirmed the ban imposed by the disciplinary committee, BCCI.
According to Live Law, the apex court has directed BCCI to decide the quantum of punishment within three months from Friday. The Supreme Court, however, has not upheld the findings of guilt made by the disciplinary committee against Sreesanth. Calling the ban on Sreesanth playing cricket “unfair”, senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the cricketer, told the bench that “nowhere in the world, life ban has been imposed on a cricketer like this”.
Soon after the verdict, Sreesanth spoke to the media. “The lifetime ban has lifted and it’s a huge relief. I have been keeping myself fit and practising regularly. I am eagerly waiting for the next 90 days for BCCI's decision. I am sure the BCCI will be kind to me and the decision will be in my favour,” he said.
The Delhi Police had arrested Sreesanth and his two other Rajasthan Royals' teammates, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, on the charge of spot-fixing during the IPL in May 2013. On September 13, 2013, BCCI was found Sreesanth guilty on all the three counts - corruption, betting and bringing disrepute to the game - and imposed the lifetime ban on him.
In an earlier hearing, Sreesanth had told the court that he initially confessed to the Special Cell of Delhi Police about his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal to escape sustained and continuous police torture.
Although in July 2015, the Patiala House Court dropped the charges against the 36 accused in the scandal, the BCCI refused to reverse its disciplinary order against Sreesanth based on evidence.
Sreesanth then approached the Kerala High Court seeking that the ban on him be lifted. In August 2017, the Kerala High Court had lifted the life ban imposed on Sreesanth and also set aside all proceedings against him. However, in two months, the High Court allowed BCCI’s appeal and restored the ban. Sreesanth then moved the top court challenging the Kerala High Court order upholding the lifetime ban on him.
On May 15, 2018, BCCI opposed the plea by Sreesanth seeking a relaxation of the ban to allow him to play in county cricket in England.