In a landmark judgment the Hon'ble Hyderabad High Court declared the life ban imposed on the outstanding Cricketer, Mohammed Azharuddin, to be illegal. The relief to the Cricketer came after almost 12 years, since the ban was imposed by Board of Cricket Council in India in the year 2000. The Board of Cricket Council in India vide its order barred the Cricketer from playing Cricket during his life time for the Indian National Team and such other teams and also banned him from holding any position in the Board of Cricket Council in India or International Cricket Council.
The Court formulated 11 points to be determined in the matter and discussed the legal position, the case law and arguments at length. The Hon'ble Court held that the appointment of the commissioner to conduct the enquiry by Board of Cricket Council in India in the present matter was outside the power of the Board and was in unabashed violation of rules and regulations and was illegal, invalid, ultravires and nullity in the eyes of law. The Court further held that the appointment of the Commissioner as enquiry officer, who was the legal advisor of Board of Cricket Council in India at the relevant point of time should not have been done since the same would lead to bias prejudice and unfairness against the former Cricket Captain Azharuddin.
The Court held that the enquiry report is a nullity in the eyes of law and cannot be acted upon since no independent enquiry was made by the Enquiry Officer and no opportunity of cross examining the witnesses was afforded to the former Indian Cricket Captain. And thus the rules of principles of natural justice was violated throughout the enquiry.
The Hon'ble Court discussed the reports of the enquiry officer, order of Board of Cricket Council in India, various judgments of Hon'ble Supreme Court of India and held that the life ban imposed by Board of Cricket Council in India is illegal, invalid and null and void in the eyes of law. The Hon'ble Court discussed the judgments and arguments forwarded by Dr. Sarbjit Sharma, Senior Advocate and passed a detailed judgment in favour of Mohammed Azharuddin. This is a landmark judgment on the issue of powers of Board of Cricket Council in India and illegal enquiry being conducted by disrespecting the principles of natural justice.