Burden of proof on Srinivasan to disprove the conflict of interest

Supreme Court put the burden of proof on BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) president-in-exile N Srinivasan to prove that there was no conflict of interest involving him that came in the way of a probe into the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL – 6).

Major part of the argument was on the conflict of interest. Kapil Sibal, counsel of Mr. Srinivasan was arguing that there was no finding either by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee or the Bombay high court against Srinivasan on the conflict of interest issue.

However, court had a different opinion on the conflict of interest issue and asked Mr. Srinivasan to lift the veil. While responding to the contentions on behalf of Mr. Srinivasan, the bench said that, it was up to Srinivasan to “demonstrate” that there was no conflict of interest as the question has arisen on admitted facts.

It was contented that, at no point of time was Srinivasan given an opportunity either before the Mudgal Committee or the high court to address the issue of conflict of interest, and the issue of conflict of interest was neither in the pleadings before the high court nor in the terms of reference of the Mudgal Committee and it was raised only in the apex court.

However, the bench showered questions on the appointment of the commission and even observed “was it on the concurrence of the BCCI President”. While Srinivasan’s counsel making submissions, bench asked him that, “Who was at the helm of the working committee meeting? Who was heading the meeting?”

When it was told that the Commission was not in place before the scandal, the bench observed that, “Do you constitute the commission depending upon the people in the complaint. You don’t have a prior commission. So, for different complaints, there would be different commissions.”