Acquittal not enough to lift ban on Sreesanth, says BCCI

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It added that the standard of proof required under a penal statute is much higher than the proof required for a disciplinary inquiry.

Kochi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has reiterated its stand before Kerala High Court that a criminal court exonerating cricketer S. Sreesanth of spot-fixing charges is not enough to lift the lifetime ban on him.

The BCCI was responding to a petition filed by Sreesanth challenging the life ban imposed on him despite a Delhi court dropping charges against him on July 25, 2015. He has claimed that such a ban violates his constitutional rights.

“The decision of the sessions court to acquit Sreesanth from criminal charges has no impact whatsoever on the decision of the internal disciplinary committee of the BCCI to ban the petitioner from playing cricket tournaments organised by the BCCI and/or its affiliates. The question before the sessions court was whether the petitioner (and other accused) were guilty of penal consequences under relevant criminal statutes. On the other hand, the question before the BCCI was whether the petitioner is guilty of match-fixing, corruption and gambling and violation of the internal disciplinary rules of the BCCI,” the affidavit said.

It added that 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 of violating the internal disciplinary rules of an organisation.

According to the BCCI, the sessions court was aware of its decision to ban Sreesanth while discharging him. The court had recognised the offence of match -fixing and betting and the incidental conduct of players and bookies in furtherance of these activities.

The court had noted that necessary penal action has already been sanctioned against the errant players and other people, the affidavit said. Even after the sessions court’s order, the working committee of the BCCI had met on October 18, 2015 and decided not to lift the ban on Sreesanth, the BCCI told the court.

No new circumstances exist to lift the ban, the affidavit stated. It pointed out that Sreesanth has not revealed in his petition that Delhi police had filed an appeal against the sessions court’s order before the Delhi High Court and that it is still pending.

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