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SC appoints single-member panel for conduct of HCA polls

HYDERABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed retired justice L Nageswara Rao to the single-member committee to supervise the conduct of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) elections. The current HCA president and former Indian cricket team skipper Mohammad Azharuddin has been accused of holding the position despite the end of his tenure.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Manoj Misra, and Aravind Kumar observed that the impasse on the conduct of polls to HCA should come to an end, and the polls must be held in a fair manner.“We are of the view that the impasse must come to an end, and a fair election must be held. Justice Nageswara Rao, a retired judge of this court, would be suitable to be appointed to head a single-member committee to sort out this mess,” reads a court order.

The SC also directed the HCA to assist the single-member committee in conducting polls. “He can take all the assistance needed. The association will bear the expenses. If the learned judge needs directions from this court, the matter can be placed before us for the limited purpose,” the order further reads. The bench has posted the matter for the next hearing on March 2.

The apex court was hearing a case in which the association had earlier appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Verma as its ombudsman and ethics officer. Challenging the Telangana High Court’s order upholding Justice Verma’s appointment, some persons approached the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the bench heard the petitions with respect to the timely conduct of the polls to HCA. Senior advocate Siddhartha Dave, appearing for one of the respondents in the case, suggested the name of justice Rao.

“We suggest that the elections be conducted under the aegis of Justice L Nageswara Rao. He is from Hyderabad; he can fix the electoral college etc.,” Dave said.Another counsel appearing in the matter pointed out that former international cricketer Mohd Azharuddin continued to run the association despite the pending polls and pending legal cases.

It may be recalled here that Sports Minister V Srinivas Goud recently said in the State Legislative Assembly that the State government had submitted its response to the Supreme Court regarding the HCA functioning.

“There were some irregularities in the functioning of the HCA that was why some persons approached the Supreme Court,” the minister said, adding that the State government would not hesitate to take back the land given to HCA for Uppal stadium. The minister had also said that the State government would run the stadium on its own if required.