HC upholds year-long cricket ban and expulsion of MCA apex council member by Ombudsman, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Bombay high court has upheld an order of the ethics official and ombudsman barring an under-19 ex Ranji player Kiran Powar from being involved in the game of the cricket whatsoever for one year and his expulsion from the apex governing council of Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).

Powar, now 46, a cricket coach, had petitioned the HC to challenge the order of Ethics-officer-cum-Ombudsman, Justice (retired) V K Tahilramani. Her order had come on a complaint filed by Deepan Mistry alleging that Powar was guilty of “conflict of interest” under the MCA constitution.

The HC bech of Justices S V Gangapurwala and R N Laddha after hearing Powar’s counsel Sneha Phene, MCA counsel A S Khandeparkar and Rashmin Khandekar counsel for Mistry on November 25 declined to interfere on merits of the Ombudsman’s findings.

The HC held “it cannot be said that the punishment imposed…is shockingly disproportionate for court to intervene.’’

“The Petitioner was a member of the Apex Council and his brother was appointed as a Head Coach of the MCA,’’ noted the HC. Powar said “the apex council has no role to play’’ in appointment of head coach.

“There is no full disclosure’’, added the HC noting that the Ethics officer concluded that the “conflict is intractable’’. The Ethics officer has power to suspend or remove a person from his post and also debar him from the game if conflict is intractable the HC held.

Powar’s lawyers including Phene and Garima Mehrotra argued that the finding that there was a conflict of interest on his part “is arrived at by completely failing to consider Rules 21 and 26 of the Constitution” of MCA. Two allegations were made against Powar in the Complaint, in a bid to justify that there was “conflict of interest” (i) that subsequent to him being appointed as an Apex Council member, his brother was appointed as a Coach for the Mumbai Senior Men’s Cricket team and (ii) that the Petitioner was cricket coach in Goregaon Sports Club (GSC) while he was the Apex Council Member. His counsel said Powar was “not required to disclose any of the aforesaid situations.’’ Powar’s plea was also that principles of natural justice were violated.

Counsel Khandeparkar with Vikas Warekar for MCA and Khandekar with Advocate Abhishek Bhat for Mistry argued that Powar’s position of influence was found to be an instance of conflict of interest under Rules because ‘cricket improvement committee (CIC) of the MCA responsible for appointment of coaches, “functions under the direct superintendence or oversight of the Apex Council of which the petitioner (Powar) was a member.’’ He did not
make any disclosure of conflict of interest. And while serving on the Apex Council, on 03.12.2020 had entered into one-year contract for monetary gain as “Head Cricket Coach” of GSC (which is a member club of MCA), they submitted.

The Ethics Officer cum Ombudsman in her order observed that the act of Powar “taking up the post of Head-Cricket Coach in GSC can certainly be perceived to bring the interest of the respondent in conflict with the interest of the game of cricket or interest of the association and his act can also give rise to apprehension of bias, lack of objectivity or monetary benefits’’ said the HC ruling adding ” It is also observed by the Ethics Officer that the respondent was getting monetary benefit is clear from the contract signed with GSC.”


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