Life ban on Azharuddin called illegal by Andhra High Court


Twelve years after being slapped with a life ban on match-fixing charges, former India cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin today got relief from the Andhra Pradesh High Court which held the BCCI action as 'illegal' and 'unsustainable'.

Setting aside the ban that was imposed in the aftermath of Hansie Cronje episode, a bench of justices Ashutosh Mohanta and Krishna Mohan Reddy allowed Azharuddin's appeal challenging the order of a local court, which had upheld the decision of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The cricket body had imposed the ban after a three-member committee had found him guilty of match-fixing charges.

The three-member BCCI committee comprised of erstwhile president A C Muthaiah and two vice-presidents Kamal Morarka and K M Ram Prasad decided to impose life ban on Azharuddin.

Azharuddin,49, hailed the verdict but ruled out taking any legal action in the matter. The Congress MP from Moradabad told reporters in Delhi that he was willing to work with BCCI for development of cricket.

The BCCI reacted cautiously saying it will analyze the judgement before taking any decision.

The bench agreed with Azharuddin's counsel K Ramakant Reddy's argument that there was no evidence against the former cricketer that he succumbed to any pressure while playing cricket.

The court also observed that BCCI had proceeded against Azharuddin unilaterally.

Azharuddin's lawyer Ramakant Reddy said the court rejected the BCCI's contention that its actions cannot be challenged in the courts of law.

He said his argument was that the ban was not based on the evidence and that the constitution of the enquiry committee itself was not correct.

The lawyer had argued that due procedures were not followed in imposing the ban. The board's contention that no case was maintainable was rejected.

Reacting to the judgement, Azharuddin told reporters in Delhi,"I can't predict how BCCI will react but it's totally upto them. As far as I am concerned, I am ready to work for the benefit of cricket and cricketers."

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